Court Officer Ron Kienzle and Security Supervisor Joe Zangaro were shot and killed inside the Berrien County Courthouse by an inmate who was attempting to escape at approximately 2:25 pm.
A court officer and a Berrien County sheriff’s deputy were in the process of removing the prisoner from a holding cell in a corridor behind a courtroom when the man attacked them. The prisoner was able to disarm one of the officers and opened fire, striking them both. The man escaped into a public hallway where he shot a civilian and exchanged shots with two other court officers, striking one of them, before being killed by return gunfire.
The inmate was in court for two counts of criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and domestic assault.
Officer Kienzle was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the Berrien County Trial Court for 10 years after having retired from the Benton Township Police Department.
Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:
Honorable Gary J. Bruce, Chief Judge
Berrien County Trial Court
811 Port Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Phone: (269) 983-7111