Vigil planned Tuesday for pastor killed at Forest Hill church

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 7:20 PM

FOREST HILL -- Area ministers gathered Tuesday to pray for the family of slain pastor Danny Kirk of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church.

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Derrick Birdow was officially identified as the man who drove his car into the church building and clubbed Kirk to death with an electric guitar.

Birdow died from unexplained causes after the attack. Police used a Taser to subdue Birdow, then put him in the back of a squad car alone. When they checked on him again, minutes later, Birdow was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

Police have not released a possible motive in the attack. Church members said they do not believe there was a conflict between the two men, and they question whether they even knew each other.

Birdow had multiple previous arrests and served a five-year prison sentence for assault with a deadly weapon.

Janitor and church member John Whitaker was also beaten in the attack. His wife said Tuesday her husband has a fractured hand, but no broken bones in his face. Whitaker told News 8 Monday he tried to stop the attack by hitting Birdow with a piece of lumber, but the it didn't phase the suspect.

On Tuesday, a man who said he's known Birdow for "many" years said he was shocked by his friend's vehavior on Saturday. The man, Charleston White, said Birdow was extremely jittery and seemed paranoid and told him the world would end if people found out what was inside his head.

White served time with Birdow in a Texas Youth Commission facility. He is now a college student who works with troubled young people. 

A vigil is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the church in Forest Hill.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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