A jail inmate who killed two courthouse bailiffs during an escape attempt in Berrien County was a regular volunteer at his daughter's school, despite a long criminal record.
Watervliet (Water-VUH'-leet) Superintendent Kevin Schooley tells WZZM-TV (http://on.wzzm.com/2a0kSky ) that background checks on Larry Gordon apparently didn't turn up any violent crimes.
Gordon was a classroom volunteer before his arrest in April on charges of kidnapping, sexual assault and other crimes. He also had served time in federal and state prisons.
South Elementary principal Carole Fetke says volunteers don't get fingerprinted.
The Berrien County sheriff says Gordon wrested a gun from a deputy on July 11 and killed two bailiffs before he was killed.
His criminal background was revealed in a news release issued by the county prosecutor earlier this month:
Larry Gordon, 44, of Coloma, Michigan, was being sought for an outstanding warrant for domestic violence, a 93 day misdemeanor. That warrant's incident date was January 28, 2016. After several attempts to execute the warrant, on April 20, 2016 Officers from Coloma Township Police Department were looking for Gordon at his residence on Tannery Road in Coloma Township where he lived with his ex-wife. Upon arrival, officers observed a light on in a shed on the property and discovered Gordon to be inside. Gordon barricaded himself inside but escaped through a back access door. Gordon fled and was discovered several streets away with the help of a tracking dog and physically resisted exiting from under a porch. Police then discovered the presence of a 17 year old female in the shed. The investigation revealed the following.
The 17 year old had been held against her will by Gordon for approximately two weeks. He gave her methamphetamine in exchange for sex, forced some penetrations, and assaulted her with weapons, and assault by strangulation. He also video recorded the sexual activity.
As a result, Gordon was charged with:
five counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, a life maximum;
one count of kidnapping, a life maximum;
three counts of production of child sexually abusive material, a 20 year maximum;
possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, a 20 year maximum;
one count of criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd degree, a 15 year maximum;
one count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15 year maximum;
two counts of assault by strangulation, a 10 year maximum;
one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, a 4 year maximum;
two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer, 2 year maximums; and
misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and malicious destruction of building.
He was supplemented as a 4th habitual offender.
Gordon had previously been convicted of:
1992 a federal conviction for possession of pipe bomb;
1998 in Barry County, fleeing and eluding 3rd degree;
1998 a federal conviction for possession of pipe bomb;
2002 a federal conviction for felon in possession of a firearm;
2013 in Berrien County, larceny in a building.
Through this investigation, an incident was investigated involving similar conduct with a 16 year old victim in 2006 in Berrien County, which had not yet been charged.
Due to his more serious charges, the original domestic violence charge, a misdemeanor, was being dismissed in court the day of the shootings resulting in the wounding of 1 deputy and the death of two bailiffs. Gordon was shot and killed by other bailiffs while holding a hostage.
If convicted at trial, sentencing guidelines for Gordon's offenses may have been as high as between 18 and 62 years on a minimum sentence.
We have also learned investigators on the case are expected to discuss the shooting today.
The sheriff's officers say they are still conducting interviews and gathering information and evidence.
Make sure to stay with WSBT 22 as we learn more about the shooting that rocked our community.