A prison inmate was taken to the courthouse for a hearing when he managed to wrest a gun away from an police officer. After shooting two bailiffs in an apparent escape attempt, the gunman was soon killed.
Two bailiffs and a prison inmate are dead after the inmate tried escaping from a Michigan courthouse.
Larry Darnell Gordon, the 45-year-old suspect, was at the courthouse for a hearing on multiple felony charges.
The sheriff says authorities had "no warning signs" that the suspect would be violent.
Gordon reportedly wrested a gun from a police officer. He shot and killed two bailiffs before being fatally shot by other bailiffs.
"Our hearts are torn apart ... I have known them for over 30 years. It's a sad day," Sheriff Paul Bailey said of the bailiffs.
The shootout occurred inside the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph in the southwestern corner of Michigan, about 100 miles northeast of Chicago.
The gunman was taken from his jail cell for a court appearance. There were multiple charges pending against him but it was not immediately clear what the charges were.
Bailey said the gunman shot a sheriff's deputy, killed the bailiffs and then shot a civilian in the arm in a public area.
The gunman then was fatally shot "by two other bailiffs who came to render aid, along with several other officers," Bailey said.
"He was trying to escape," the sheriff added.
The injuries suffered by the deputy and the civilian weren't considered serious.
Bailey said certain details surrounding the shooting remained unclear, including whether the inmate was handcuffed at the time.
Governor Rick Snyder cut short a trip in northeastern Michigan, and traveled across the state to meet with investigators and victims' families.
Snyder called it a "terrible day in a wonderful community."
bik/kl (AP, Reuters)