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Church Members Clean Up, Remember Murdered Pastor

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FOREST HILL (CBS 11 NEWS) - Members of the Sweethome Missionary Baptist church were cleaning up Tuesday after 33-year old Derrick Birdow drove his car through the side of the church Monday and then beat the pastor, Rev. Danny Kirk, to death. Birdow later died after police Tased him and put him in a squad car.

Family members of Birdow say his disposition changed dramatically over the last week.

“You know, he was a loving person,” said Birdow’s aunt, Michelle Jenning. “We just can’t imagine him doing anything like this. It wasn’t him. It’s like he was possessed. So, we don’t know.”

The family says three days before crashing his car into the church and beating pastor Danny Kirk to death, Birdow called police because he thought someone was out to get him.

“He was acting not himself,” Jenning said. “Talking fast and nobody understanding him or making heads or tails of what he was saying.

Church members cleaned blood from the scene Tuesday. Flowers and well wishes poured in from around the country as they remember a father, pastor and athlete who even had a short stint with the Seattle Seahawks.

“He was a golfer and he played as far as California,” said Kirk’s father-in-law Melvin McClendson. “So we’re getting calls from everywhere. From all around. From states all around Texas.”

Despite the loss of their spiritual leader, the goal for the church is to be ready for services Sunday.

They’ll put a security door in the gaping hole left by Burdow’s car. And Kirk’s family says they’ll remember what the pastor preached: The church will live on after the man who founded it dies.

“What we know him for is his preaching and his teaching,” McClendson said. “And that’s what we’re going to live on. And he had already told us what we should do if something happened to him. And that’s why you see all this activity. Because we’re doing what he taught us to do.”

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