Police Find Man Fatally Shot in Church Parking Lot

Kennedale police say they have made an arrest in connection to the death of a man whose body was found in a church parking lot Wednesday morning.

Stephanie Weaver said she discovered the body of Dakota Birdwell on her way into work. She missed the turn to get to her office along North Little School Road, so she pulled into the Life Fellowship Church parking lot next door. That’s when she saw the victim lying face up, covered in blood, and called 911.

“I feel really sad for the family,” said Weaver. “I’m a little traumatized, I guess. But I think I feel more sad than anything.”

Kennedale police said Birdwell, 18, had been shot in the head.

On Thursdayy, officers charged Cody Basinger, 18, with murder.

Basinger is in the Mansfield Jail. His bond is set at $50,000.

Ashley Kline said she knows Birdwell. She told NBC she and some other friends were hanging out at a house near the church Tuesday night.

“He left late [Tuesday] night,” said Kline. “And everyone was like, 'He’s been gone too long, call him.' And then I woke up this morning and found out he was dead.”

Kline said police have questioned her.

In the meantime, Life Fellowship Church officials said they will do what they can to help the tight-knit community heal.

“Of course, it is a tragedy,” said the Rev. Nathan Hooper, associate pastor at the church. “We’re here for the family or anyone in the community that has been affected by this.”

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

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