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Denver Woman's 13-minute 911 call ends in gruesome death: 911 response probed

Woman shot in the head by her husband during a 911 call in Denver.
Woman shot in the head by her husband during a 911 call in Denver.
Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

A woman was shot in the head and died during a 13-minute long 911 call, much to the horror of the Denver 911 dispatcher on the other end. It was the woman’s husband who was arrested for shooting and killing. During the 13-minute phone call the wife basically gave the dispatcher a blow-by-blow description of her husband’s actions up until the time that the fatal gunshot was heard, according to NBC News on April 16.

Kristen Kirk, 44, called 911 when her husband kept urging his wife to shoot him, and he was telling her that the end of the world is near. She told the dispatcher that her husband was hallucinating and scaring both her and their three children. When the 911 dispatcher asked Kirk if there were guns in the house, she told them there was a gun, but it was locked in a safe.

You could hear the fear in her voice rise as she tells the dispatcher she could hear her husband going into the safe. Kirk then started screaming for him to put the gun down, but it was a single gunshot that ended the phone call for the 911 operator. Officers on their way to a domestic disturbance call arrived after it had turned into a fatal shooting.

When police arrived, Kristen Kirk was lying on the floor with an apparent single gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police arrested Richard Kirk, who admitted to killing his wife while on the way to the police station. The police probable cause statement states that Richard Kirk “took marijuana” prior to the shooting.

Richard Kirk was placed under arrest at about 9:55 p.m. and the initial 911 call came in at 9:32 p.m., which means if the police had gotten there a few minutes earlier, Kristen might have been saved. She was shot approximately 13-14 minutes into the call, putting the time at about 9:46 p.m., according to the timeline coming from reports.

According to the Denver Post today, this University of Denver neighborhood is in shock over this shooting. Kirk does not have a police record other than one suspicion of driving under the influence, but that was back in 2000. Neighbors described him as a friendly guy, who was often seen playing with his three sons around the yard.

The Denver Police Department has taken this call under review, investigating what took so long, along with the department’s response to the incident, reports Denver Police Officer Raquel Lopez. The response times for the Denver Police Department have gotten longer in the past few years. This is blamed on budget cuts not allowing the hiring of additional police needed on the force. The department has not been able to hire new officers since 2008.