FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Fort Worth-area authorities have released the name of the man who died in police custody after ramming his car into a church wall and then fatally beating the pastor.
The motive for the attack on Rev. Danny Kirk Sr. of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church is still under investigation, Forest Hill police said.
Derrick Anthony Birdow, 33, died Monday after being found unresponsive in the back of a patrol car, the Forest Hill Police Department said in a release Tuesday.
Forest Hill officers arrived at the church to find Birdow assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar, Police Chief Dan Dennis said. Kirk, 53, was pronounced dead at the church.
Officers used a Taser to subdue Birdow, handcuffed him and put him in a patrol car, where he was found unresponsive a short time later and pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office in nearby Fort Worth has not yet released Birdow's cause of death. The Texas Rangers are investigating Birdow's death because he died in police custody, Dennis said.
Birdow's cousin, Christopher Henderson, said that Birdow had "been out of his head" the past week, acting strangely and saying someone was trying to kill him. When asked if Birdow used drugs, Henderson said that someone may have given his cousin drugs.
"He's just been acting off the wall," Henderson told The Associated Press on Monday outside the church, saying he recognized Birdow's car, which was still partially inside the church wall.
Henderson said he believed that Birdow's children attended the church but was unsure if his cousin went there or knew the pastor.