The last thing a Denver 911 dispatcher heard on a domestic disturbance call was a single gunshot ringing out. It was the sound of 44-year-old Kristine Kirk, a married mother of three young children, being gunned down, allegedly by her husband. Denver police are now investigating why their response did not come in time to save Kirk from her crazed husband.
According to a report today from NBC News, Kirk spent approximately 13 minutes on her 911 outcall, pleading frantically that police intervene on her behalf. Kirk told the 911 dispatcher that her husband, Richard Kirk, 47, had opened his locked gun locker and was “talking about the end of the world,” and that he wanted Kirk “to shoot him.” When she didn’t, he allegedly shot her, point blank in the head.
Denver police arrived Monday night at the family's home at 2112 S. St. Paul Street, near the University of Denver, and found Kirk dead. Richard Kirk was arrested on first-degree murder charges. According to NBC, he admitted to killing his wife. Police also said that Kristine reported that her husband was “hallucinating” after “eating a marijuana cookie.”
The Denver Channel discussed the possible role that Richard’s post smoking may have played in the murder, saying that both Kristine and her husband had been either smoking pot or eating it before the incident occurred. The medical examiner said the woman died from a gunshot wounded to the head. The killing was ruled a homicide.
The Denver Police Department issued a statement, saying they have partnered with the state’s Combined Communications Center and have “initiated an investigation into the emergency call and police response to the homicide at 2112 S. St. Paul Street. 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.”
Sonny Jackson, a Denver Police Department spokesperson, told The Denver Post that police “were almost there.” Jackson said police “are looking at marijuana as a possible part of the investigation.” Jackson did confirm that all three of the couple’s children were in the home at the time of the shooting.
Tuesday morning, neighbors watched detectives streaming in and out of the home with boxes of evidence. The Kirk family was active in their community, with the young boys involved in soccer and hockey with other kids in the neighborhood. Police said that they had never been called to the residence before, and that there was no prior history of any domestic complaints.
“This is just incredible,” neighbor James Slater said. “Everybody knows them.”