FOREST HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – A passionate message from a teenage son to his murdered father capped an emotional remembrance Tuesday night for a Forest Hill pastor.
Outside the church Danny Kirk, Sr. helped start, hundreds of people wrapped around the front entrance of the Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church, where he was killed inside.
Holding candles, parishioners listened to area pastors prayers for the Kirk family, the church and the Forest Hill community. An impromptu message from Danny Kirk, Jr. though, brought most in the crowd to tears.
The 17-year-old, in a t-shirt, tan pants and sandals, started by asking the crowd for a favor.
“I know right now we’re a little broken-hearted. I know right now we’re a little sad. But I want you to put a smile on your face.”
Perhaps giving a glimpse of what a sermon from his father might be like, Kirk Jr. raised his voice, with the crowd echoing the end of every sentence.
“Daddy let me tell you something. Since you’re right here next to me, I got momma. Don’t worry about momma. I never thought I’d be a man at 17 but looks like I’m gonna be one. And he raised a good one.”
Earlier in the day church members were cleaning up the hole left in the side of the building where 33-year old Derrick Birdow drove his car Monday. He then beat Danny Kirk to death with a guitar. Birdow later died after police used a stun gun to control 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 the crime 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.
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 a memorial service by Friday. 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.”