ShareThis Page
Nation

Texan began acting paranoid; kills pastor, dies in custody

| Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, 9:08 p.m.
Church members take a moment to pray on Tuesday, Oct. 30, as they gather the day after their pastor, the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., was slain at the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in Forest Hill, Texas.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Church members take a moment to pray on Tuesday, Oct. 30, as they gather the day after their pastor, the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., was slain at the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in Forest Hill, Texas. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH — Worried by a week of increasingly bizarre conversations with his younger brother, Glen Birdow drove to Fort Worth last weekend, hoping to understand why his brother was saying people were trying to kill him and that someone had stuck a needle in his arm.

Derrick Anthony Birdow was fidgeting and acting paranoid, but he refused to check himself into a hospital. The 33-year-old married father of four insisted he was fine, his brother said.

But Derrick Birdow left his Fort Worth home on Monday, passed by numerous churches and rammed his car into the side of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in nearby Forest Hill. There, he got out of his car and beat the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. to death with an electric guitar.

“The person that I knew was loving and caring, and he was not a killer,” Glen Birdow, 39, of San Antonio said on Tuesday. “I just don't know what happened. I'm so sorry for the pastor's family.”

Derrick Birdow did not know the pastor or attend that church, though his wife might have gone there a few times, his brother said. Derrick Birdow enjoyed his job as a truck driver and didn't have a history of mental illness, his brother said, adding that he didn't believe that his brother used drugs.

Derrick Birdow died Monday after being found unresponsive in the back of a patrol car, where he was taken once officers subdued him with a Taser and handcuffed him, Forest Hill Police Chief Dan Dennis said.

Kirk, 53, died at the scene. Forest Hill police said the investigation is continuing.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has not released how Birdow died. The Texas Rangers are investigating Birdow's death because he died in police custody, Dennis said.

Tarrant County court records show that in 2004, Derrick Birdow pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to five years in prison. Glen Birdow said his brother believed a man had stolen money from him and police refused to help, and then he shot the man.

Derrick Birdow served 35 days in jail in 2004 for a misdemeanor drunken driving charge, court records show. In 2000, he received 45 days in jail for misdemeanor assault of a family member, and in 1999 he was sentenced to 120 days in jail for possessing a controlled substance, court records show.

On Monday, his cousin, Christopher Henderson, said that Derrick Birdow had been “out of his head” the past week, saying people were after him.

When asked if Derrick Birdow used drugs, Henderson said that his cousin believed that someone may have given him drugs.

“He's just been acting off the wall,” Henderson said outside of the church.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me