Church Pastor Killed: Mysterious Man Murders Community Leader with Electric Guitar, Dies, Motive Unknown
Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction. Like a scene from a bad horror movie, the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. was murdered Oct. 29 when a man drove his car into the wall of the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church, seemingly on purpose, and then attacked the pastor with an electric guitar.
According to Police Chief Dan Dennis, the assailant drove his car into a church wall, then began attacking Rev. Kirk in the church parking lot before chasing him inside. The church secretary reportedly then called 911. However, by the time authorities arrived, Kirk was already dead. Police say they then had to use a Taser gun in order to subdue the assailant and placed him the back of a police car.
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A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was injured and taken to an area hospital, according to police. His condition is unknown.
The assailant, identified Oct. 30 as 33-year-old Derrick Birdow, died Oct. 29 after being found unresponsive in the back of a patrol car.
No motive is known, or whether Birdow knew Kirk before the attack.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has not yet released Birdow's cause of death. Chief Dennis said that an autopsy would be performed in order to determine an exact cause of death and to see if drugs may have played a role in the attack.
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 the suspect's death.
Church parishioners remember Rev. Kirk as a humble, loving Pastor who "was a man of integrity. He would wear jeans or a sweat suit because he said he never knew how he would be needed to help, and that's what a pastor does," associate minister Claudie Loftin told the Associated Press.
"He really was concerned about our souls," added Montoya McNeil. "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," she lamented.
The Rev. Kirk founded the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in 1995 in a strip mall before building the church now used. Members have gathered to mourn the loss of their pastor as well as a friend and confidant.
Kirk's influence permeated numerous levels of the Fort Worth community. The pastor 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.
Loftin, the associate minister, said that church members were grieving but would recover from the loss "with the help of God."