Texas pastor beaten to death inside church

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Paul Moseley and Paul Moseley | The Daily Wildcat Texas Rangers investigate stand near a car that hit the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in Forest Hill, Texas, Monday, October 29, 2012. The pastor of the church was killed when a man beat him to death at the church, according to early reports from Forest Hill police. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

FOREST HILL, Texas — A longtime Baptist pastor was fatally beaten inside his Forest Hill church Monday morning, and the suspect later died in the back of a patrol car, according to police and MedStar.

The Rev. Danny Kirk was apparently inside Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church about 11:15 a.m. CDT when a vehicle crashed into the side of the building.

Police Chief Dan Dennis said they believe the attack on the pastor began in the parking lot of the church, and then moved inside the church, eventually ending in the music room. When officers arrived, they found the man beating Kirk with an electric guitar, Dennis said.

An officer fired his Taser to end the assault, Dennis said. The suspect was placed in the back of a patrol car. When officers later returned to the car, he wasn’t breathing, said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.

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A janitor was attacked outside the church and was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A church secretary was also inside the building but locked herself in a storage closet and was not injured, Dennis said.

Authorities have not released the identities of anyone involved. Church members identified Kirk as the pastor.

Paramedics were on the scene Monday afternoon treating multiple grief-stricken patients.

Dennis said that police weren’t yet sure of the motive but that robbery hasn’t been ruled out. He said they don’t believe that the suspect was a church member but that he might have had family members who are members of the congregation.

Associate minister Claudie Loftin praised Kirk’s leadership at the church.

“He had a hug for everyone,” Loftin said. “If you came in this church, you got a hug, no matter how long the line was. He was a man of honesty and integrity, and he showed it every day.”


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