Shooter in Mich. Courthouse Killings was School Volunteer

The school district’s background check system did not incorporate federal crimes.

The man who shot and killed two bailiffs in a southwest Michigan courthouse July 11 had recently been a volunteer at a local school.

Larry Gordon had volunteered at South Elementary School, where his daughter is a student, as recently as two months before the shooting, reports

Gordon was making a court appearance facing several charges when he grabbed a deputy’s gun and opened fire, killing two bailiffs (both retired police officers) and wounding a deputy and a civilian before police returned fire and killed him.

Gordon was awaiting trial after police say he abducted and raped a 17-year-old girl and also had an extensive criminal record dating back to the 1990’s.

RELATED: Pa. Law Requires School Volunteers to Pass Background Checks

The superintendent at Watervliet Public Schools says the district does background checks for volunteers but didn’t see any violent crimes on Gordon’s record. Unfortunately, the vetting system didn’t check federal crimes.

The principal of South Elementary says Gordon began volunteering in classrooms in November 2014. By that time, he’d been federally convicted for possession of a pipe bomb and a felony larceny.

Employees in the district get fingerprinted, but not volunteers. Superintendent Schooley says the district will begin vetting volunteers through federal court documents this fall. The district will also consider using background checks more frequently.

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