Fallen bailiffs honored on 2nd anniversary of Berrien Co. Courthouse shooting

 A photograph of Joe Zangaro on the second anniversary of his and Ronald Kienzle's death.
A photograph of Joe Zangaro on the second anniversary of his and Ronald Kienzle's death. (WNDU)
Published: Jul. 11, 2018 at 7:14 PM EDT
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Wednesday marks the second anniversary since the death of two bailiffs on duty at the Berrien County Courthouse.

A memorial was held at Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph on Wednesday afternoon to honor Ronald Kienzle and Joseph Zangaro.

The community shared a moment of silence followed by a prayer and a song honoring our country and those who serve.

It was all to remember bailiffs Ron Kienzle and Joe Zangaro, whose lives were tragically cut short in this courthouse after an inmate in court got ahold of a deputy’s gun.

But rather than reliving that tragedy, friends and family reflected on their memories of these two heroes.

“We lost two good friends that day,” said Sheriff Paul Bailey of Berrien County. “Ron and Joe for many, many years, since the seventies; were in law enforcement doing their job to protect and serve and on that day, they ran towards danger and both paid that ultimate sacrifice. And we’re here to remember them for their courage.”

“They were just two wonderful people; both had wonderful sense of humors, good dads. They just had the whole package,” he added.

“Law enforcement’s a tight bond and whenever you have a loss, whether you know the person or not, you feel it,” said First Lt. Mike Dawson, post commander at Niles Post. “Joe was a stickler for doing everything right and if you didn’t do it right, he let you know.”

“Ronny loved what he was doing. He was an NP in Germany, he was a retired policeman from here and he was getting near retirement in the court,” said Jerry Kienzle, brother of Ronald Kienzle. “He worked and dedicated providing for his daughters.”

“Joe and Ron didn’t get to go home that day and it surely makes everyone who’s a police officer think about that,” said First Lt. Dawson. “Every day when you go to work, you think, there’s something that might happen that might cause me not to go home to my family. When it happens locally in your own community, it really hits home.”

And while leading the prayer, the chaplain of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department asked for protection over our law enforcement so that they may come home to their families safely every day.