RIPLEY • A fatal shooting involving a Tippah County constable occurred inside a small Ripley church Sunday morning, according to law enforcement.
Ripley Police Chief Scott White said the shooting occurred at 11:27 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 at West Ripley Church of Christ and involved South Half Constable Keith Bullock and another church member.
Patrick Sanders, 57, of Dumas was pronounced dead at the scene. Details are unclear on what transpired between Sanders and Bullock causing Bullock to fire the fatal shot.
Bullock was treated for minor injuries at Tippah County Hospital and released.
An exact count of people inside the church at the time of the shooting is unknown at this time.
Sanders was the son-in-law of the West Ripley Church of Christ preacher. Sanders' son was present in the church at the time of the shooting but was not in the area where the incident occurred. According to law enforcement, Sanders had a criminal background.
Bullock has been constable since 2015 and previously held the post from 2003-2011.
Friends and family of Bullock took to social media Sunday, offering support and prayers of peace to the constable and prayers of strength and comfort for the Sanders family and the church congregation. People described the situation as heartbreaking, and Bullock as an “honorable person and constable,” a “fine man,” and “one of the best men I know.”
In 2011, Bullock released this statement in the Sentinel to voters: “My goals have been and continue to be, to represent and serve Tippah County in a positive manner. I have always been fair and treated all people with respect. I take seriously the trust and responsibility you have placed in me. My strong determination to represent you in an honest and conservative manner is something you can always count on.”
Sanders’ body was taken to the state crime lab in Jackson for autopsy.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the case. Ripley Police Department and Tippah County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the investigation. More details will be released when available.