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Congressman Fred Upton looks back on Berrien County Courthouse shooting

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- “This heartbreaking tragedy happened in a blink of an eye, but we will never forget.”

Michigan’s sixth district congressman, Fred Upton, shared the tragedy of the 2016 Berrien County Courthouse shooting on the Michigan House Floor on July 12th.

It was already national news, but the representative hoped spreading the word to other representatives would help the folks in Michiana get through a tough time.

It was also tough for him. Upton was close with Joe Zangaro.

Upton explained his conversation with Zangaro’s judge, Charles LaSata, during the shooting.

“In whispered language he said, ‘Fred, I’m in the restroom, we got a golf club,’ but obviously it was very, very serious. At the time he was ok, but it was still ongoing, there was still shots fired and despite losing two really good guys, it could’ve been a lot worse.” He said. “Literally to have Charlie, Judge LaSata, on the phone while all this was happening, watching the TV in my office with sheriff bailey and others–this is, this is my community.”

Tuesday, Congressman Upton released this statement about the tragic day:

“One-year ago today, our community was shaken by a violent and heinous act that took the lives of two dedicated public servants and threatened the lives of those inside the Berrien County Courthouse. Since that day we have come together in a healing process and seen an outpouring of support for Sheriff Paul Bailey, his department, and all of our local law enforcement and first responders.

“Today is a solemn reminder of what we went through and we mark it by remembering Joseph Zangaro, whom I knew personally. He was a widely respected and well-liked former Michigan State Police Trooper and head of courthouse security. We also remember Ronald Kienzle, a U.S. Army veteran and retired Benton Township Police Officer who loved his motorcycle and his family.

“What happened right here in our community is a daily reminder of the sacrifices our law enforcement officers, and their families, make every single day in order to keep the rest of us safe and secure. This heartbreaking tragedy happened in the blink of an eye, but we will never forget.”

In May, Upton met with the Zangaro’s family as part of National Police Week.

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