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A 13-minute 911 call: Gunshot silenced mom's screams a mile from police station

13-minute 911 call ends with mother of three shot dead by her husband as operator listens in horror.
13-minute 911 call ends with mother of three shot dead by her husband as operator listens in horror.
Facebook/ Kristen Kirk

The 13-minute 911 call that ended with Kristen Kirk being shot in the head by her hallucinating husband is under much scrutiny today. The Kirk home is less than a mile away from the police department and it took almost 15 minutes for the police to arrive. They arrived too late to save this woman.

The mother of three pleaded for the police to come as her husband’s behavior turned dangerous leaving her and her three young sons at this crazed man's mercy. According to Washington Post on April 17, people want to know why the response time for the police was so lengthy.

The 911 operator kept reassuring Kristen that help is on their way after the fear in her voice escalated with each passing minute. The Denver Police Department is a mile away from the Kirk home where Kristen Kirk was calling from, pleading for help to arrive soon.

Why did it take police so long to get to the Kirk house where Richard Kirk, 47, was in a mental state that was turning more dangerous as the time passed? Police refuse to release the 13-minute long 911 call tape today that ended with the sound of that fatal shot to Kristen’s head, according to Mail Online today.

On Monday night Kristen, 44, called 911 asking for officers to come to her home as her husband was acting strange and she felt he was dangerous. Richard Kirk thought the world was ending and was begging his wife to kill him. He continued to escalate with his strange antics while Kristen was on the phone with the 911 operator. She was frantically giving the dispatcher a blow by blow description of what her husband was doing.

When the 911 dispatcher asked Kristen if there were guns in the home she said yes, but the one gun they owned was locked up in a safe. Towards the end of the call this terribly frightened woman tells the operator her husband went to the safe and got the gun. Then Kristen could be heard screaming at her husband to put down the gun and frantically begging him not to use it.

Kristen’s voice went silent after the sound of a gunshot. Police, who were on the way to a domestic disturbance were now walking into a homicide scene. When they arrived they found Kristen on the floor with a pool of blood around her head. She died from a single gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

The couple’s children were home and they may have witnessed their mother’s horrific death at the hands of their own father. Court documents convey what a homicide detective heard while listening to the 911 tape after the incident. While the 911 tapes weren’t released, four communications between the dispatcher and the police officers responding to the call were released. They indicated that ten minutes had gone by with Kristen on the phone with the 911 dispatcher and the officers were still in route to the Kirk home. One officer was reading the 911 dispatcher’s notes on the conversation that Kristen Kirk had with the dispatcher. He was reading the details off his laptop in the squad car.

After the gunshot, the dispatcher then radios a “code 10” to alert the officers to a possible shooting. One of the officers radios to the dispatcher to get Mrs. Kirk back on the phone. The dispatcher tells the officer, “Technically she’s still on the line. Apparently the dispatcher meant that Kristen didn’t get off the phone, the gunshot rendered her unresponsive. Three minutes later the officer radios that they’ve arrived and they request an ambulance saying there is a victim with gunshot wounds.

He then adds, “We’re going to need homicide.” Kirk was arrested on the spot and the judge ordered that he be held without bond at his first court date on Wednesday. Reports that Kirk was hallucinating after having marijuana are being investigated. It is not known if he smoked the substance or ate it in some food product, but reports have police following up on this possibility.

It was reported that he ate some food that contained marijuana, but those reports are not officially confirmed as of yet. What took the police so long to respond to this 911 call? This is one incident that arriving just a few minutes earlier could have made the difference between life or death for Kristen Kirk.

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