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Pastor fatally beaten at Texas church

FOREST HILL, Texas — A North Texas pastor was killed Monday by an attacker who rammed a car into a church wall, chased the pastor, and beat him with an electric guitar, police said.

Investigators in Forest Hill, a suburb of Fort Worth, did not say why the unidentified suspect attacked the Rev. Danny Kirk Sr., founding pastor of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church. The suspect also died a short time after being taken into custody.

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Police Chief Dan Dennis said the suspect drove his car into the church wall before noon Monday, apparently on purpose.

The suspect got out of the car and began to attack the pastor in the parking lot before chasing him into the church, Dennis said. The church secretary hid and called 911, Dennis said.

Police arrived to find the suspect assaulting Kirk with an electric guitar that they believe was already inside the church, Dennis said. An officer used a Taser on the suspect, handcuffed him, and put him in the back of a patrol car.

Dennis said the suspect was found unresponsive shortly after being detained and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The cause of death was not immediately known.

A maintenance worker who tried to help Kirk was injured and taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown.

Dennis said he didn’t know if the suspect knew Kirk, had attended the church, or why he might have attacked the pastor.

Hours after the attack, hundreds of people gathered outside the church. Some hugged one another and cried, while others recalled Kirk as a dedicated minister who had a warm personality and knew all the names of the church’s hundreds of members.

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