North Texan Pastor Beaten To Death In Church With Electric Guitar

Posted By Urban News Hour | October 30, 2012

Forest Hill, Texas  —  Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., a pastor in suburban Fort Worth was killed Monday by an attacker who rammed a car into a church wall at his Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church, then chased the pastor and fatally beating him to death with an electric guitar.

Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into a church wall before noon Monday, apparently on purpose. The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, while the secretary hid and called 911, Dennis said.

Police arrived to find Thirty-three-year-old Derrick Birdow assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar from inside the church, Dennis said. An officer used a Taser on the suspect, handcuffed him and put him in the back of a patrol car.

The police subdued Derrick Birdow by using a Taser, but who died after being taken into custody.

Dennis said the suspect was found unresponsive shortly after being detained and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Kirk fought back during the attack, Dennis said, but it’s unclear if that played any role in Derrick Birdow’s death. An autopsy was being performed on the suspect to determine the cause of death.

Investigators said, they don’t know the motive or if Kirk knew Derrick Birdow.

Former Forest Hill Mayor James Gosey said Kirk started the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in 1995 in a strip mall before building the red-brick church.

Parishioners, described Kirk as a dedicated minister with a bubbly personality and a knack for remembering the names of his church’s 800 members, are now looking for answers following his violent death.

Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. always greeted everyone that came to hiss Texas church on Sundays with a big hug and an “I love you.”

He spent his weekdays were spent visiting folks in the hospital or mowing lawns and doing household repairs for members in need.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church, where crime-scene tape was wrapped around a small statue of Jesus near the wrecked car. Some hugged each other and cried, while others shared memories of Kirk.

“He really was concerned about our souls,” Montoya McNeil, a church member for eight years, said as she wiped away tears. “You looked forward to being here. … I’m not asking God why, because I know where he (Kirk) is, but we won’t get those big bear hugs and those great sermons anymore”.

Kirk was also an unofficial volunteer chaplain who occasionally counseled members of a local high school football team, Fort Worth school district spokesman Clint Bond said.



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