Elected official shoots, kills preacher's relative after church in Mississippi, officials say

TIPPAH COUNTY, Miss. — Authorities are investigating after a fatal shooting involving a Tippah County elected official and another church member on Sunday.

According to Ripley, Mississippi authorities, the shooting involved Tippah County Constable Keith Bullock and church member Patrick Sanders, 57.

The chief of police told FOX13 officers were called to the West Ripley Church of Christ around 11:30 a.m. Sunday for a shooting.

When officers arrived, first-responders pronounced Sanders dead on the scene.

Sanders and Bullock were members of the church. Sanders was also a preacher's son-in-law.

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Authorities said the shooting happened after church services. A men’s meeting was taking place in the fellowship hall. Members were discussing the church grounds and work that needed to be done.

When the meeting ended, Bullock and Sanders were in the fellowship hall alone – that’s when the shooting happened.

Bullock has not been charged, according to officials.

Only two other members of the church were inside the building when the shooting happened.

It is unclear what led up to the deadly shooting. Bullock was taken to the hospital and later released.

According to state records, Sanders is listed as a sex offender in Mississippi. Court records show that in 2006, Sanders “touched a child or physically helpless person inappropriately” in Pontotoc, Miss.

The Tippah County Sheriff’s Office told FOX13 Sanders was arrested in 2008 for failure to register as a sex offender.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is looking into the situation.

Bullock just won the primary race for constable unopposed on Aug. 6. He will face a Democratic candidate in November.

Officials told FOX13 constables can perform the same duties as deputies and police officers.

Mississippi Constable Association President Glenn McKay said constables can also make traffic stops and felony arrests.

Constables are also required to attend justice court and execute judgements in any criminal case before court.