Law enforcement official shoots, kills attacker during Sunday worship
One man is dead after a Sunday morning shooting at a Church of Christ in rural northern Mississippi.
Keith Bullock, who serves as South Half Constable for Tippah County, was worshiping with the West Ripley Church of Christ in Ripley, Miss., when a man approached him and pulled a knife, Tippahnews.com reports. Bullock drew his own weapon and fired, killing the attacker.
Patrick Sanders, 57, of Dumas, Miss., was pronounced dead at the scene, the Daily Journal newspaper reports. Bullock was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.
The newspaper identified both Bullock and Sanders as members of the congregation, which meets about 90 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn. The directory “Churches of Christ in the United States” lists the church’s Sunday attendance as 45.
TV station WHNT identified Sanders as the son-in-law of the church’s minister.
The shooting happened at 11:27 a.m. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.
Bullock’s cousin, Clint Stroupe, said he is praying for the West Ripley church and for “the family of the individual whose behavior forced this action.
“I have always been proud of his service and the Christian man he is,” Stroupe said of his cousin in a social media post. “I know there is no one more reluctant to use force than him, but I am proud he was willing to do so when necessary.”
Constables are elected law enforcement officers, usually in rural communities, with duties similar to police officers and sheriff’s deputies, the Southern Sentinel reported in a 2009 interview with Bullock, then serving his second term as South Half Constable.
“A lot of people don’t really know what we do as constables,” Bullock told the newspaper. “Unlike what people think, we don’t have control over a lot of things, but anyone who has a problem can call us. We want to serve the north and south half of the county to the best of our abilities, but within the law.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.