crimesider

Mormon Bishop Shot, Suspect Killed in Police Shootout

Mormon Bishop Shot, Suspect Killed in Police Shootout
Church members react after shooting (AP Photo/Fresno Bee, Gary Kazanjian)

VISALIA, Calif. (CBS/AP) The man who allegedly gunned down a Mormon lay bishop in central California has been identified by police after being killed in a shootout with officers.

Police say 40-year-old Kenneth James Ward of Modesto walked into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Visalia between Sunday services and asked for the leader of the congregation.

He was directed to victim Clay Sannar, 40, who was doing administrative paperwork. 

Sannar was reportedly shot more than once.

Ward later called police to say he was the shooter and let them know where they could find him, Visalia police Chief Colleen Mestas said.

Arriving officers confronted Ward and exchanged gunfire, police said. Ward was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at a hospital.

No police officers were injured.

Ward's brother Mike says Ward was a former church member who felt wronged by a bishop then who had "shunned him to hell" in 1988.

Mike Ward told the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper on Monday that his older brother was mentally ill, and that his brother didn't know Sannar.

Sannar was the general manager of Soil Basics, a fertilizer company in Visalia, according to the company website.

Members of the congregation described Sannar as a well-loved family man. One of his sons is less than 6 months old.

"We're devastated," said Scott Henriksen, 47, a church member. "This is something that should not happen."