‘Pokemon Go’ takes over in Southwest Michigan

The mobile phone app “Pokemon Go,” based on the popular trading card game, made its digital debut late last week. (Don Campbell | HP Staff)

The mobile phone app “Pokemon Go,” based on the popular trading card game, made its digital debut late last week. (Don Campbell | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — A new mobile phone app has people around the world hunting for Pokemon.

The Nintendo-owned franchise, which became popular as a trading card game in the 1990s, is again taking the U.S. by storm. This time through “Pokemon Go,” a mobile app that allows players to throw virtual balls to capture “pocket monsters.”

“Pokemon Go” uses a phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when a player is in the game. Using the GPS, the app makes Pokemon appear around the player on their phone screen, so they can go and “catch” them.

Chris Newland and Casey Ross were searching for new Pokemon on Monday in downtown St. Joseph along the bluff.

The St. Joseph residents downloaded the app and began playing when it became available last week. In his first three days playing the game, Newland captured 28 different Pokemon.

“This is our first time adventuring out here, but we did go to a boat launch and there’s a station there that had a lot of Pokemon,” Newland said. “The best part about this is getting people out of their house. Especially with these younger kids who are addicted to their iPad.”

Ross said he’s had luck at Riverview Park and at Lions Park Beach.

As a person moves around, different and more types of Pokemon will appear in a virtual realty mobile game.

Players can walk to local landmarks, known as “Pokestops” in the game, to gather supplies. Newland and Ross were using the Curious Kids’ Museum as a Pokestop on Monday. Other locations can be used as gyms, where Pokemon train or battle one another.

The app is free, but many have cited safety problems.

Because the game uses established buildings and landmarks as gathering sites for players, some have asked Indiana Michigan Power Co. to see if they can catch “electric type” Pokemon near substations and transformers. I&M released as statement advising against doing so.

“Please be advised that electrical substations and transformers are very dangerous and not to be considered as gaming locations,” the release stated. “You should never climb the fence or enter a substation. Stay away from all power lines and transformers on utility poles or located on the ground in green boxes. Don’t climb company poles to try and reach transformers.”

A return to the ’90s

Like the card game, players can trade their Pokemon or level up. The mobile game includes the original Pokemon Red and Blue versions, before the next generations were introduced.

Newland and Ross said the game is nostalgic for them and others who grew up in the 1990s. What got them addicted was their first Pokemon they captured through the game called Charmander.

“A lot of people love Pokemon,” Ross said. “This is their first app for a phone. You have all the old Game Boy games, but this can actually be played on phones. There is endless amount of game play. So many people are good already. It’s hard to keep up.”

It’s not hard to recognize someone playing the mobile app. Most can be spotted walking or standing with a phone held up to eye level.

Mitchell DeBoer heard about the game through a group chat. The LaGrange, Ill., resident said he kept yelling at his friend to stop the car so he could get out and find Pokemon close by.

“I play it on my Game Boy on road trips and on planes,” he said. “All the teenagers remember it from their childhood so they want that newer version of it. The game is kind of confusing, but it’s still fun.”

Jordan Makela of St. Joseph first heard the app was in development a year ago. He said he’s been patiently awaiting its release when he was finally able to download it during a trip in Colorado last week.

He said he loves how the app gets a person mobile, but fears a lot of people won’t pay attention to where they’re going. One of the app’s biggest draws for Makela was his love of the trading card game. He admitted he still has a few cards left.

“I’ve been a fan since it first came out,” Makela said. “I felt obligated to try it. You’re actually catching them now.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 14, 2016)

Advertisements

With all eyes watching: Amid tragic courthouse shooting, Bailey comes through

 Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey answers a question during a news conference Monday night in a downtown St. Joseph parking lot. Bailey said the third news conference on Monday was the hardest to do. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)


Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey answers a question during a news conference Monday night in a downtown St. Joseph parking lot. Bailey said the third news conference was the hardest to do. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — In a matter of minutes, the parking lot behind Horizon Bank in downtown St. Joseph filled with cameras and reporters eager for word on what took place a few blocks over.

The Berrien County Courthouse was surrounded by police cars and officers carrying automatic weapons. Two helicopters continued to fly over the Twin Cities area as traffic was diverted around a two-block radius.

People from inside the courthouse were being slowly escorted out of the courthouse in tears. Word spread fast that there had been a shooting in the courthouse and some might be dead.

Over the next seven hours of confusion and dread, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey held three news conferences to describe what had befallen two colleagues and friends.

“It was a very stressful day from the beginning to the end,” Bailey said. “It’s still very stressful. Our deputies are trained to escort inmates in the jail and in the courthouse. On this given day, an inmate overpowered one of our deputies and did a terrible thing. We are now suffering and still piecing everything together.”

With several cameras and digital recorders trained on his every word, Bailey gave as much information as he could. Each news conference Monday grew in size until the 9 p.m. convergence fully encircled Bailey and the other officers that stood at his side.

It was from that asphalt parking lot, where the temperature was in the mid 90s, where Bailey revealed court officers Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle were shot to death by an inmate who overpowered one of his deputies. Other officers returned fire and killed the attacker, who would later be identified as Larry Darnell Gordon of Coloma.

Bailey was sitting in his car along Main Street in Benton Harbor when he got the call. He said their deaths began to sink in when he made it to the third floor of the courthouse.

Unlike most who were close to the two court officers, Bailey had to go through the grieving process on live TV.

Earlier in Bailey’s career, a state trooper was killed on a routine traffic stop in Shoreham. Bailey, who was then 24, said no training can prepare a person for when a fellow officer goes down.

“Law enforcement officers take that oath to serve and protect,” Bailey said in a Wednesday interview. “We go in harm’s way. We don’t think about our lives, we think about others. When people are running out, we’re running in.”

Support all around

Upon Bailey’s chest throughout the news conferences was his badge, which was accompanied by a black band that wrapped around the gold shield. The church bell across the street chimed as each hour flew by. Nearly every police agency in Southwest Michigan had an officer on scene for support.

As he approached the media for the last time Monday, Bailey said he kept thinking about Kienzle and Zangaro’s families and how their hearts were going to break.

“It was very hard, very emotional talking about my two friends,” he said. “Just trying to give accurate information was hard with so much going on. I was trying to be short and detailed, but we were all exhausted. That third press conference was the hardest. (I) asked the good Lord for help.”

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit said he could tell Bailey was having a hard time during the final news conference. That’s when Heit stepped in to reiterate what Bailey originally said when reporters continued to ask about the inmate.

The cameras were recording as Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey holds one of three news conferences Monday in a parking lot in downtown St. Joseph. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

The cameras were recording as Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey holds one of three news conferences Monday in a parking lot in downtown St. Joseph. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

Bailey left the courthouse around midnight, but took Monday’s events home with him.

With a few hours of sleep, Bailey held another news conference at 7 a.m. Tuesday with more updates from the shooting and how it occurred.

The sheriff’s office helped with emails and calls that came pouring in from across the country. TV networks and newspapers called Bailey and his office the next few days.

In the days following the courthouse shooting, Bailey received calls from sheriffs, police chiefs, the state attorney general’s office, congressmen and senators in Washington, D.C., with messages of condolences and encouragement.

It will be awhile until things return to normal, but Bailey said he and his staff are doing their best to get by.

“We’re trying to heal and are praying for the families,” Bailey said. “We talked about what occurred and told everyone not to hold anything in. We brought in counselors to speak to employees. This is not just short term, it will take some time.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 14, 2016)

Planners recommend to reject liquor store in St. Joseph Twp.

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — A special use permit for a potential liquor store did not get the St. Joseph Township Planning Commission’s blessing Tuesday night.

Planners voted unanimously to recommend the Board of Trustees reject the special use proposal, after more than 50 residents voiced opposition at an hour-long public hearing.

The proposed liquor store, which would also operate as a convenience store, would be at 1844 Colfax Ave. Building Inspector Jerry Jones said during the hearing the proposed store met all the township ordinances.

Residents argued the liquor store would decrease property value and bring crime with it.

Chief among the reasons included the proposed store’s proximity to a school. Several residents argued putting a liquor store within a block of a school was “negligent.”

Fair Plain Renaissance Middle School is about 574 feet north of the proposed liquor store property. That distance falls within the township’s ordinance, which requires a distance of at least 500 feet.

Jones said he measured the distance four times to be sure.

“When we were first approached a few months ago, they said it would be a convenience store that would sell other items that included liquor,” Jones said after the meeting. “But the fact that liquor is being sold there has fueled the fire here tonight. It was pretty straightforward as to what they were requesting.”

Colfax Inc., which owns the property, had a lawyer present to speak on its behalf.

The lawyer, John Campbell, said they were in the process of attaining a beer and wine license and packaged liquor license. Neither the lawyer or the developer were available for comment after the meeting.

The building the company is looking to turn into a liquor store was originally a bank, before being turned into a day care center. Jones said the building is now vacant.

James Kovach, who lives near the property, said he dealt in real estate and said he would rather see blight next door than a liquor store.

“If this gets approved, I’ll be back here asking for a variance for an 8-foot brick wall,” Kovach said.

Residents continued to pour into the Township Hall during the meeting, where there was standing room only by the door.

Planning Commission Chairman Jonathan Fisk said he and other commissioners chose to reject the proposal due to the overwhelming crowd size.

“I think the strength of people’s feelings and the number that came out helped me decide,” Fisk said. “It takes something controversial to get this many people out to our meetings.”

Planners made the recommendation to reject the proposal, but the Board of Trustees will have the final say. The next regular board meeting is at 6 p.m. Aug. 1. The board is holding a workshop at noon the same day.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 13, 2016)

U.S. Attorney General offers aid following courthouse shooting

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has offered to help Michigan authorities investigate Monday’s shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse.

Lynch spoke Tuesday morning with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to testify about several issues involving the Justice Department. The conversation turned to the deadly shooting and attempted escape in Southwest Michigan.

“As we gather here this morning, I know that we’re all thinking of the two bailiffs who were killed and the sheriff’s deputy who was wounded in a shooting at a courthouse in Michigan yesterday,” Lynch said during the committee meeting.

Larry Darnell Gordon, 44, of Coloma tried to escape Monday when he was being transferred from a holding cell. Police said a handcuffed Gordon disarmed a sheriff’s deputy on the way to a courtroom and began shooting.

Gordon shot and killed court officers Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle and wounded James Atterberry Jr. and a civilian. Police said other court officers shot and killed Gordon.

“The Department of Justice stands ready to provide whatever help we can to state and local authorities as they investigate this heinous crime,” Lynch said during the committee meeting, “and our sincerest condolences are with the friends, colleagues and loved ones of the devoted public servants that we lost.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives during a Tuesday morning session. Upton asked to address the council for one minute in order to update legislators on what was going on in his hometown of St. Joseph.

“I rise today to offer support and love for the victims friends, family and certainly our entire community. We should continue to keep those affected in our hearts and our minds,” Upton said during a C-SPAN broadcast. “I also want to thank the countless folks on the front lines who prevented this tragedy from being even worse. Swift actions of those on the ground need to be commended, particularly the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, led by Sheriff Paul Bailey. I was with him just this past Saturday, and what he had to endure these past few days is unthinkable.”

Upton continued by thanking the immediate support from local officials, including St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad, Gov. Rick Snyder, state Sen. John Proos and state Rep. Al Pscholka.

Upton asked colleagues and those listening to pray for the families of Zangaro and Kienzle.

“It is times like these when we need to unite as one. This heartbreaking tragedy happened in the blink of the eye, but we will never forget,” Upton said. “…pray for the families of these two victims, and the speedy recovery of a deputy and civilian caught in the middle. We will get through this together.”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., gave his condolences to victims’ families at the Senate Floor on Tuesday.

“Across Michigan, our hearts have been shattered by senseless violence like this,” Peters said during his time at the podium. “…Yesterday’s incident illustrates a very important fact. Whether as a member of a local police department, a rapid transit officer, or a court bailiff, public safety officers risk their lives everyday to keep our families and our communities safe.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 13, 2016)

Gordon was handcuffed during rampage, faced multiple charges

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — The Berrien County jail inmate who shot and killed two Berrien County court officers Monday was handcuffed when he wrestled a gun away from a sheriff’s deputy and started shooting.

“Investigators determined this inmate was handcuffed in the front. He remained handcuffed. The handcuffs were still on him at the end,” Undersheriff Chuck Heit said.

Two court bailiffs rushed to help when gunshots rang out, and one of them shot and killed the shooter.

Police originally said they were not sure whether the inmate was cuffed while being moved from a holding cell to a courtroom. A fight ensued in a hallway and Larry Darnell Gordon, 44, of Coloma took Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy James Atterberry Jr.’s gun, shot and injured Atterberry and shot and killed Ronald Kienzle, a court bailiff; and Joseph Zangaro, who was head of courthouse security.

Heit said it is standard practice to put inmates in handcuffs when they are moved from holding cells to court. Whether the inmate is shackled at the feet depends on the individual person, the charges they face and their temperament, if known.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said Monday that Gordon had been in the Berrien County jail and deputies and court officers had no indication he would become violent toward them. Still, he was handcuffed.

Inmates facing a judge for hearings or sentencing remain handcuffed in the courtroom. At trial, inmates wear civilian clothes and handcuffs are removed once the inmate is seated at the defense table, before jurors are brought in, so as not to prejudice the jury.

Multiple charges

Officials said Gordon faced a host of charges stemming from his arrest in April. State police records show Gordon was charged with criminal sexual conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping.

The Coloma Township Police Department was behind Gordon’s arrest in April and officials are in the process of submitting a report.

Coloma Township Police Chief Jason Roe said investigating officers are conducting follow-up interviews, but confirmed there are about 20 counts against Gordon.

Roe said Gordon allegedly faced six counts of criminal sexual conduct, one count kidnapping, one count of unlawful imprisonment, one count of delivery/manufacturing of meth, two counts of assault by strangulation, two counts of resisting and obstructing police, one count of possession of marijuana, one count of malicious destruction of property of less than $200, three counts of child sexual abuse material, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of aggravated domestic violence.

Roe said the charges stemmed from separate incidents that took place over the course of a few months at three different locations. Roe said the majority of Gordon’s charges occurred at his Coloma residence.

Other incidents took place in Benton and Hagar townships, Roe said.

“There were just over 10 charges in the beginning, but throughout the investigation we added several more charges and counts,” Roe said. “Domestic violence was added, there were additional multiple counts and each one of those had an additional charge.”

Roe said Gordon’s alleged kidnapping did not involve a family member.

“We are working on a releasable version (of our report),” Roe said. “The report is more than 80 pages, so we’re looking over it and will get it out as soon as we can.”

Life maximum sentences

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic said the criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping charges were considered to be life maximum sentences. Assault with a dangerous weapon is a four-year maximum.

The inmate’s ex-wife, Jessica Gordon, said in an interview Monday night that Gordon was looking at more time than what the domestic violence charge on Monday’s court docket alluded to.

“He had court today (Monday), but the charges he was there for were dismissed,” Jessica Gordon said in reference to the domestic violence charge.

Sepic explained the additional charges Gordon faced can fluctuate based on the circumstances of the arrest.

“When an offense is a life maximum, a judge can sentence him to life or a term of years,” Sepic said. “Assault with a dangerous weapon simply indicates a weapon was involved in this series of events with this suspect.”

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Gordon pleaded guilty to fleeing a police officer in 1998. He was discharged from prison in 2002.

Gordon had a probation sentence after pleading guilty to larceny in a building in 2013. After serving a year in prison, Gordon was discharged early. Gordon also has a 1992 conviction in Calhoun County for misdemeanor disorderly person-jostling.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: Staff Writer Julie Swidwa contributed. This article was originally published on July 13, 2016)

Gordon’s ex-wife: ‘He just wanted to come home’

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Police identified Larry Darnell Gordon as the jail inmate who killed two bailiffs inside the Berrien County Courthouse on Monday.

Gordon, 44, of Coloma was being held for domestic violence charges and had a status conference scheduled for Monday afternoon, according to the court’s docket.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said the suspect – who also shot and injured a deputy sheriff and civilian – was attempting to escape and was in custody on several charges. Bailey declined to provide further details on those charges during a press conference.

Joseph Fletcher, Gordon’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment.

Bailey said a deputy and a bailiff were moving Gordon from a holding cell to the courtroom when he freed himself from an officer, took his gun and began firing.

Gordon’s ex-wife, Jessica Gordon, told The Herald-Palladium she learned of his death when a chaplain and police officers showed up at her home. Jessica said she had seen news of the shooting on Facebook earlier in the day.

“He had court today, but the charges he was there for were dismissed,” Jessica said in reference to the domestic violence charge. “Those were only one of the charges he was in jail for. He was looking at more time with the other charges.”

Jessica said she spoke with Gordon on Sunday, but had no idea whether he was planning an escape.

“I believe he was terrified that he would never see me and his daughter, or the rest of his family again,” Jessica said. “I don’t believe he set out to hurt anybody. I think he just wanted to come home.”

The two divorced in February after nearly 10 years of marriage. She said they knew each other for another nine years before that. Gordon is originally from Battle Creek, Jessica said.

Gordon had a 6-year-old daughter named Cheyenne, whom he had with Jessica. Gordon had five other children and 11 grandchildren, Jessica said.

Jessica said the shooting has been hard on her and her family.

“A lot of people in the community have looked at me differently,” she said. “My heart goes out to the families of the other victims. I ask that everyone remember that we lost a family member, too.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on July 12, 2016)

‘Our hearts are torn apart’: 2 bailiffs shot and killed at Berrien County Courthouse

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — A Berrien County jail inmate shot and killed two court officers, injured one sheriff’s deputy and a civilian, and tried to take hostages Monday before being killed by two other bailiffs in a Berrien County Courthouse hallway.

The victims were identified by Sheriff Paul Bailey as Joe Zangaro, 61, and Ron Kienzle, 63. Zangaro was head of security at the courthouse. He retired from state police as commander of the Bridgman post and had been employed with the Berrien County Trial Court since May 2004.

Kienzle had been employed with the trial court since April 2005. He retired as a sergeant from the Benton Township Police Department and served in the U.S. Army.

“Together they had over 40 years in law enforcement. They were loving guys,” Bailey said.

The sheriff’s deputy who was shot is James Atterberry Jr., 41. He joined the sheriff’s office in July 2002. At a 9 p.m. press conference, Bailey said Atterberry was shot in the arm, had undergone surgery and was out of intensive care and in stable condition.

The inmate who shot the officers was Larry Darnell Gordon, 44, of Coloma. He was an inmate at the Berrien County jail and was awaiting court appearances on several charges, Bailey said.

Bailey said that after Gordon shot the men he tried briefly to take hostages in the courthouse. Police did not identify the civilian who was shot. But people at a prayer vigil in Benton Harbor on Monday evening identified her as Kenya Ellis Adams.

The shooting happened at about 2:15 p.m. on the third floor of the four-story courthouse building. Bailey said the inmate who was being taken into court shot the bailiffs and deputy in a corridor between a holding cell and a courtroom.

Employees on the third floor were kept at the courthouse Monday to be interviewed by police while other employees were allowed to leave in small groups.

“I’ll try to make it through this. We lost some friends today, so I’m here with a heavy heart,” Bailey said in an afternoon press conference. “…Our hearts are torn apart at the loss of our colleagues and friends.”

Gov. Rick Snyder makes a public statement during a press conference Monday regarding a shooting that took place inside the Berrien County Courthouse. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

Gov. Rick Snyder makes a public statement during a press conference Monday regarding a shooting that took place inside the Berrien County Courthouse. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

At a press conference, Bailey was flanked by police officers from several area departments, Gov. Rick Snyder, state Sen. John Proos, state Rep. Al Pscholka, and local mayors. Press conferences were held in a bank parking lot near the courthouse.

Bailey said Zangaro and Kienzle were longtime law enforcement officers and had both been court bailiffs for more than 10 years. He said deputies and the court bailiffs who work in the courthouse are well-trained.

Bailey said Gordon was being brought into court from a holding cell when a fight ensued and he wrestled a gun away from Deputy Atterberry and shot him, Kienzle and Zangaro. Bailey said it is standard procedure for two people to transport inmates between the jail and courtrooms.

After shooting Atterberry, Zangaro and Kienzle, Gordon ran into a hallway and started shooting, hitting one civilian in the hallway before being shot by a bailiff.

He said police are continuing their investigation and he does not know which bailiff shot Gordon. He said early indications are that the inmate was not handcuffed during the transfer from the holding cell to the courtroom.

“He has been in our jail, and we had no indications that anything of this nature would happen,” Bailey said.

He said whether inmates are handcuffed when brought into court depend on individual situations. He said those procedures will be reviewed once the investigation is complete.

Snyder arrived in St. Joseph late Monday afternoon, moments before a press conference began.

“I am here to offer my support on a terrible day in a wonderful community,” Snyder said. “We will support you in every way possible. I ask all Michiganders for your thoughts and prayers. This is particularly hard for law enforcement. Rally together and support one another. We should all stand together.”

Bailey said he already was overwhelmed with calls of support by late afternoon.

Outside the courthouse

It was a somber scene outside the courthouse and on the surrounding streets, where people waited for word from their loved ones after learning people had been shot. Most declined to talk to the media, as did courthouse employees who were escorted to their cars by police as they were allowed to leave, a few at a time.

“Everybody responded remarkably well,” one courthouse employee who did not want to be identified said. Most kept their heads down, some crying, and declined to talk to the media.

Mike Ramsey was waiting in the parking lot for his wife and 21-year-old daughter when police cars began showing up.

The Benton Harbor resident said he didn’t hear gunshots, but was worried for his family. After several failed calls, Ramsey was asked to vacate the scene by police.

His wife and daughter were on the fourth floor getting documents when the courthouse was put on a lockdown.

“I see all these police piling in and I didn’t know what was going on,” Ramsey said. “I walk over (to the doors) and it’s packed. That’s when they told me to leave the parking lot.”

Ramsey’s wife called him after she was interviewed by police, and told him about the shooting.

“The phone call was so quick,” Ramsey said. “But it took about 45 minutes just to reach my wife. You see ambulances coming out of the building and you don’t know what to think.”

About two hours after the shooting, police let people back into the courthouse’s parking lot to retrieve their vehicles, which were stranded behind police tape.

Bailey said the courthouse will be closed today.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: Staff Writer Julie Swidwa contributed to this story. This article was originally published on July 12, 2016)