19-year-old shot and killed Friday morning

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Dallas County 19-year-old was allegedly accidentally shot and killed by another 19-year-old Friday morning in the same vehicle.

Rufus Williams Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Captain Mike Granthum with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.

Ratravious Sanders has been charged with murder and is currently being held at the Dallas County Jail without bond. Granthum said Sanders will have a bond hearing sometime early this week for what he called a “reckless murder.”

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The shooting happened between 11-11:30 a.m. Friday morning in the Tyler and Sardis area near the intersection of County Road 67 and Industrial Drive. Granthum said Williams was riding in the front passenger seat of a car with his girlfriend, who was driving, and two others in the back seat. According to Granthum, Sanders was sitting behind Williams and was trying to shoot a handgun out the window.

“They were riding down the road, and [Sanders] had recently got a gun. He wanted to show off the gun, so he was going to shoot it out the window, and the gun failed to go off,” Granthum said.

“So he’s in the backseat trying to get the gun to fire, trying to find out why it malfunctioned, and the gun went off.”

Granthum said the bullet went through the back of Williams’ seat, striking him in the back and exiting through his chest.

“They were friends,” Granthum said. “There was no arguing. They’re not enemies. It was a tragic situation.”

Granthum said Sanders was a senior at Selma High School, and that Williams was dating his sister.

Granthum said the gun, which is a 9 mm, was confiscated, and it is being tracked down to find out where it came from. Sanders allegedly told investigators the gun was given to him.

“These guns are made for one thing, and that’s to kill,” Granthum said. “They’ve got to realize they’re not to be played with. If you have a gun, you need to know how to handle it. And fist of all, you need to have a legal gun with you.”

Granthum said investigators are still trying to determine where the gun came from and are still interviewing people about the case.

“We do believe at this time it could possibly be an accident like they were talking about,” Granthum said. “But it is still reckless. Even though it was an accident, he could still be facing some serious charges.”

Granthum said there is nothing to make investigators think there is any foul play in the shooting.

“Charges could change depending on the outcome of the investigation,” Granthum said. “But right now, he is charged with murder. He recklessly caused the death of another person.”

This is the first murder in the Dallas County Sheriff Department’s jurisdiction in 2017. This is the second between the city and county combined.