Police hunt suspect in SWAT gear after woman found dead in Texas church

Authorities in Texas were searching for a man dressed in SWAT gear after a fitness trainer and mother of three was found murdered inside a church Monday.

Terri Bevers, 45, was found at around 5 a.m. local time at the Creekside Church of Christ in Midlothian, about 25 miles southwest of Dallas. Bevers was scheduled to teach an early-morning fitness class at the church and one of her students found her body. 

Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith told reporters that the church’s motion-activated surveillance cameras captured a suspect walking around inside the church before Bevers’ body was found. Smith said the man was wearing full tactical gear with a heavy vest, helmet, shin guards, gloves and ‘POLICE’ on the front.

“He is designed to look like a police officer,” Smith said. “His intent was to look like a police officer.”

The suspect was first seen on the cameras at around 3:50 a.m. Bevers is first seen on the cameras about 30 minutes later, as she arrives to prepare to teach the 5 a.m. fitness class.

Police said the suspect appeared to be carrying a tool used to either break windows or force doors. Investigators found several signs of forced entry, but nothing was reported taken from the church.

“It’s just an odd random situation that they would actually happen to come into a building that was being burglarized on a Monday morning,” said Smith. “This is an extremely unusual situation for the city of Midlothian. We have a very safe community. In fact, it’s going to be the first event of my tenure here in almost ten years. Nothing like this happened here before.”

Investigators also have not ruled out that Bevers was the victim of a targeted attack. The Dallas County medical examiner will determine exactly how Bevers died. 

She was very passionate about transforming people’s lives, physically and mentally,” Bevers’ husband, Brandon, told KDFW. “She transformed herself into a very fit person and her desire was to do that for others.”

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