Alabama pastor who shot wife, then turned gun on himself, struggled with mental illness, family says

Prophetess Alisha Woodard (R) and her late husband Elder Ulysses Woodard, led the True Word of Deliverance Church of God in Prichard, Ala.
Prophetess Alisha Woodard (R) and her late husband Elder Ulysses Woodard, led the True Word of Deliverance Church of God in Prichard, Ala. | Facebook/True Word of Deliverance Church of God

An Alabama pastor who fatally shot himself after shooting his estranged wife at a local church struggled desperately with mental illness, his sister claimed.

On Sunday, Unice Woodard, owner of Alabama’s famous Big White Wings and twin sister of the late Elder Ulysses Woodard, who led the True Word of Deliverance Church of God in Prichard, revealed in a statement on Facebook that her brother had been struggling with mental illness for a while and had reached out to his pastoral community for help but none came.

“To set everyone straight, my brother was a True Mighty Man of God. He gave and did so much for other people but when he needed help where were y’all? He begged for his pastor friends or so called Christian friends for help before it came to the point of him taking his own life. There so many stories, lies and rumors going around about him,” she wrote.

“Since y’all know so much then why didn’t y’all know Buck was suffering from Mental Illness, Depression, Pain all day every day and the separation from his wife!!! But y’all want to say well if he was a pastor then why did he take his own life. You BASTARDS would’ve last a day in his shoes,” she said.

Last Wednesday, Pastor Derek Scott Gandy and his wife Kula of True Cornerstone Church in Mobile, Alabama, recounted to The Christian Post how his friend, Ulysses Woodard, shot his wife, Prophetess Alisha Woodard, after a women’s conference outside their church on Feb. 21.

Pastor Gandy told CP that what happened on Feb. 21, he never saw coming. Elder Woodard, he said, “wasn’t a monster.”

“I didn’t see this coming. … I didn’t see this coming. He wasn’t a monster, at least not that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

He noted that his friend had “vented” to him about things in his relationship that he thought could have been helped with counseling but saw “nothing that would lead to this” — that his friend would shoot his wife in the chest while standing right next to him.

Unice Woodard accused Pastor Gandy and his wife who witnessed the tragedy unfold along with their three young daughters, of trying to profit from the tragedy and blamed them for not doing more to prevent the attempted murder-suicide from happening at their church.

“For the pastor and his wife that spoke out from Cornerstone Church. Y’all will burn in HELL trying to get a monetary come up off this sad encounter. I hold y’all responsible because y’all should’ve been prayed up and your grounds should’ve ran them damn Demonic Spirits away,” Unice Woodard said.

While she was not at the scene of the crime when it unfolded, she also claimed that the reason her brother took his life was because he thought he killed his wife after his gun “accidentally went off.”

“He was trying to take her to get help but no one bothered to mention that. He couldn’t bear the fact that he thought he killed his wife and then he took his own life. So what y’all need to do is STFU talking bout my brother. I have been quiet for too long and I will no longer sit back and watch social media SLANDER my brother’s name. I AM MY BROTHER’S KEEPER!!!!” she said.

The Mobile Police Department said in a statement that at approximately 11:23 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, they responded to True Cornerstone Church on Halls Mill Road after receiving a report about a person being shot. When they got there, they saw a woman, later identified as Alisha Woodard, on the ground. She had been shot.

The suspect, later identified as Ulysses Woodard, reportedly fled the scene as police arrived. He was pursued by authorities and subsequently returned to the church. As officers approached his vehicle, however, he shot himself. His car then crashed into the church. He was pronounced dead at the scene while his wife was taken to a local hospital, where she is recovering.

Unice Woodard did not immediately respond to requests from CP for further comment Monday.

When asked to comment further, Kula Gandy noted: "The only thing that I can testify of is what happened Friday night on our church grounds."

In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Derek Gandy responded to critics accusing him of trying to profit from the tragedy.

“This is a tragedy … You know what’s really peculiar about that and people expressing condemnation of our church and y’alls pastor, those same people never reached out and say ‘How are your children?’

“We had our three daughters here. Our sons had left,” Pastor Gandy explained.

“Our three daughters were here and they have not enquired about the well-being of our daughters who visually witnessed what was going on,” he said.

“You’re mad because we’re rebuilding the wall? You’re the devil,” he said further in addressing his critics. “That’s the spirit of anti-Christ. You’d rather that the work of God stop for you to get in your feelings? But you have no concern for them who are still alive and what’s happening with them. That was personal in this regard. Our daughters witnessed what happened.”

He noted that he and his wife did not pray to God asking for the tragedy to happen.

“It just happened,” he said.

“I was here. I know what I heard, I saw,” he said.

While noting this part of his message was not connected in any way to the Woodards' relationship, Pastor Gandy also called on pastors in his sermon to stop abusing their wives.

“I do know that we have pastors who are abusive toward their wives. I know that. There are preachers, pastors, stand behind the pulpit … after you cut the church up then you want to go home and beat on your wife. We ought not to beat on our wives,” he said.

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