VISALIA -- Kenneth Ward told his family in Modesto that he was going on a fishing trip Sunday.
Instead, he drove 140 miles south to his childhood town of Visalia, walked into his former church and opened fire on Clay Sannar, 40, a lay bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, police said.
Sannar was a married father of six boys ages 3 months to 14 years.
Sannar was doing administrative paperwork Sunday between services when Ward came in and asked for a leader of the congregation, church officials said. He was directed to Sannar, fatally shot him and fled, according to police.
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Whether Ward intended to seek out Sannar, who was named bishop of the Visalia Second Ward only four months ago, is the question that may never be answered.
Colleen Mestas, Visalia's police chief, said there is no indication that the two knew each other.
Mestas said Sannar tried to prevent the shooter from harming anyone else. Sannar "yelled for everyone to get out of the building," she said Monday. "He really did act with heroism."
Among those at the church Sunday afternoon was Scott Henriksen, 47, a former Tulare Avenue church member who now attends another Mormon church in Visalia.
He said he knew Sannar, a native of Gridley in Northern California, for about 18 years and that Sannar had just graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah and moved to Visalia.
"He was a great man," Henriksen said. "Very good, hardworking. A great family man."
After shooting Sannar, Ward called police to confess -- and said they could find him in the nearby central Visalia neighborhood where his family had once lived. After exchanging gunfire with officers, Ward was fatally wounded.
Monday, as Visalia police tried to piece together a motive, Mike Ward knocked on doors in the neighborhood where his brother was shot, apologizing to residents.
One woman said she tried to comfort Mike Ward on Monday.
Jovita Harrah's 2003 Chevrolet Silverado truck was among at least three neighborhood vehicles struck by bullets during the shootout between Kenneth Ward and police.
Harrah said Ward did not need to apologize for his brother's actions. "Like I told him, 'My truck can be fixed, but you can't get your brother back.' "
The Associated Press and the Visalia Times-Delta contributed to this report.