Berrien County courthouse shooter identified

Berrien County Sheriff's Office Larry Gordon mugshot 071116
An undated mug shot of Larry Gordon. (Berrien County Sheriff's Office)

COLOMA, Mich. (WOOD) — Larry Darnell Gordon has been identified as the man who took a deputy’s gun inside the Berrien County Courthouse, fatally shooting two bailiffs and injuring two others.

The Coloma Township Police Department told 24 Hour News 8 Gordon was facing about 20 charges in connection to a domestic violence case involving multiple people including his ex-wife Jessica Gordon.

Authorities began investigating the incident this year, but the Coloma police chief said the incident happened sometime last year.

It’s unclear what charge or charges Gordon was expected in court for on Monday when police say he overpowered a deputy and took his gun while handcuffed before firing shots.

Bailiffs Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle were killed and Berrien County deputy James Atterberry Jr. was shot in the arm. A woman was also wounded. Gordon was then shot and killed by an officer.

The mother of Gordon’s children, his ex-wife Jessica Gordon, said officers came to her home to notify her of the shooting. The sheriff confirmed Gordon’s identity publicly in a news conference shortly after 9 p.m. Monday.

Jessica Gordon told 24 Hour News 8 that her ex-husband was still her best friend. She was shocked to hear of what happened but said she had a feeling her ex-husband was involved even before the officers came to notify her.

“He was an amazing man that got mixed up with the wrong people. He loved his children and me and his mother and sister with everything that he had,” Gordon told 24 Hour News 8. “Our wedding anniversary would have been tomorrow.”

Family photo of courthouse shooter Larry Gordon
An undated family photo of Larry Gordon.

Gordon says she spoke with Larry yesterday and had no indication that he was planning any attack. Sheriff’s officials said they were still investigating whether the incident was planned.

“I believe he was probably terrified of having to go to prison and not seeing his family again,” Gordon said. “All he wanted to do was get home to our baby girl.”

The sheriff said Monday night all indications were Gordon was trying to break out of jail.

Gordon was in jail on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Michigan State Police records show. He was also facing charges of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic violence.

“I just don’t want the press to paint a picture of him as a angry violent person,” Gordon said. “I don’t want the lies. I don’t want the speculation.”

Gordon is from Battle Creek, Jessica said. He has five children and eleven grandchildren.

“Our daughter… is what keeps me going,” Gordon said. “I’m numb right now. I’ve been crying for hours.”

Jessica said she also feels for the families of those who were killed.

“I’m very sorry for their loss and their family’s loss. We are also grieving the loss of our loved one,” she said. “I have to believe with all my heart – he was terrified of not seeing his family again.”

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