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Memorial held for Berrien County Courthouse shooting victims

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – Dozens of people in Berrien County came together to celebrate the lives of Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle, the two Berrien County deputies who lost their lives during the Berrien County Courthouse Shooting  on July 11, 2016.

Attendees said they wanted to remember two men who paid the ultimate price while serving their community.

“Today is to honor Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle,” said Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey.

It’s a day Berrien County will never forget. Both men were killed when 44-year-old Larry Gordon grabbed a sheriff’s deputy’s gun while handcuffed. Gordon began shooting inside courtroom 315.

“I was in a cloud all day long,” said Bailey.

“Difficult,” said Gerald Kienzle. “Shocked.”

Kienzle is Ron’s older brother.

“He was just good,” said Kienzle.” He loved his job, and loved the work he had.”

“We’ll miss them again for the rest of our lives,” said Bailey. “We know we’ll see them again in heaven.”

Bailey said he can’t guarantee something like this won’t happen in the future. He said the department is doing what it can though.  

“More funding for more deputies, more funding for the equipment we need, more cameras in the courtroom, more scanning equipment coming into the courtroom,” said Bailey.

For now though, he said they’ll focus on the present.

“We move forward because Ron and Joe they were servants,” said Bailey. “They would want us to continue to serve our community and protect it.”

“Ron and Joe lived their lives the same protecting us, protecting me and the people in courtroom 315,” said Judge Charles LaSata. “They were our friends, they were our colleagues, they were our protectors.”

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