TEXAS PASTOR FATALLY BEATEN WAS ‘MAN OF INTEGRITY’

The Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. greeted everyone walking into his Texas church on Sundays with a big hug and an “I love you.” His weekdays were spent visiting folks in the hospital or mowing lawns and doing household repairs for members in need.

Parishioners, who 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.

Police in the Fort Worth suburb of Forest Hill said Kirk was killed Monday by a man who rammed a car into a wall at his Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church, then chased Kirk and fatally beat him with an electric guitar.

Investigators said they don’t know the motive or if Kirk knew his attacker, who police subdued by using a Taser but who died after being taken into custody. His name hasn’t been released.

UPDATE: A suburban Fort Worth medical examiner’s office has released the name of the man who died in police custody after ramming his car into a church wall and then fatally beating the pastor. Thirty-three-year-old Derrick Birdow died Monday after being found unresponsive in the back of a patrol car.

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.”
( ‘MAN OF INTEGRITY’ )

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