Authorities are investigating into police response times after a woman was murdered 15 minutes into a 911 call about her husband. One of the homicide detectives who heard the 911 call said that he listened to her screams and then gunfire. When police officers finally arrived on scene, the woman, Kristine Kirk, 44, was found dead by a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
Richard Kirk, 47, was being held without bond on Wednesday, April 16. He appeared in court wearing a grey jail uniform and showing no emotion. He is being represented by a public defended for the first degree murder charges.
Officials with the police department revealed that their internal investigation will be focusing on the amount of time it took for the police officers to respond to the Kirk home after the 911 call had been placed. The other focus of the investigation is whether the dispatchers prioritized the woman’s call for help properly. In the court documents, dispatchers characterized the 911 call as a “domestic disturbance.”
During the 911 call, Kristine Kirk told police dispatchers that her husband was “talking about the end of the world, and he wanted her to shoot him.” She went on to say that he was hallucinating and scaring their three children. Kirk said that there was a gun in the home safe and answered the dispatchers questions regarding her husband’s medical history and possible drug use.
While on the phone with the dispatchers, Kristine Kirk advised them that her husband had gotten the weapon. She then began screaming and police said she was shot in the head 12 to 13 minutes into the 911 call. Citing an open investigation, law enforcement officials have refused to release the 911 call and dispatch records.
Police department spokesman Sonny Jackson revealed, “Any time a person dies while communicating with Denver’s emergency services we examine the circumstances to ensure that the incident was handled properly and we look for areas to improve upon.
Jackson went on to add that the detectives were looking into whether Richard Kirk was under the influence of marijuana prior to the shooting. Their questions are “based on evidence we found at the scene.”
According to Richard Kirk’s father, the family is shocked and that the couple had never shown any signs of marital distress. He also claims that he had no knowledge that his son was using any drugs. “It was a great family. He seemed very happy.”
In recent months, the Denver police department has struggled slow response times due to the fact that their ranks have shrunk as a result of retirements, departures and budget cuts.
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