Before shooting his wife, Denver Police say suspect Richard Kirk allegedly ate pot candy

Police: Man bought pot products that evening

DENVER - A Denver man accused of killing his wife while she was on the phone with 911 ate marijuana-infused candy before he allegedly shot her.

According to search warrants released Thursday, 44-year-old Kristine Kirk told a 911 operator on Monday night her husband had "taken some marijuana and possibly some prescription medication for back pain" before he started "hallucinating" and scaring her and the couple's three young children.

On the 911 recording, 47-year-old Richard Kirk can be heard in the background talking about taking marijuana "candy" that he had purchased from a recreational marijuana shop, the documents say.

Authorities say Kirk shot his wife in the head about 12 minutes into her call with 911, although 7NEWS has determined that it took Denver police at least 16 minutes to respond to the home at 2112 S. St. Paul St., near the University of Denver.

On Thursday, Denver Police Chief Robert White ordered an investigation into how police, dispatchers and 911 operators responded to what authorities initially described as a domestic violence call.

At one point in the call, Kristine Kirk told the 911 operator to "please hurry" and send officers because her husband was "totally hallucinating" and frightening their children, the document says.

She said "her husband was talking like it was the end of the world…he had asked her to get the gun and to shoot him, and she is scared of what he might do because her three children are in the house with her," the document said.

She could be heard telling her husband to "stay down and yelling for her kids to go downstairs," a detective who listened to the 911 recording wrote in a statement supporting the search warrants.

"At one point during the call Mrs. Kirk sounds panicked and tells the 911 operator that Richard was taking the firearm out of the safe. She next related that he had the gun and she didn't know where to go," the document states. Within seconds, the wife "can be heard screaming. The screaming stopped after hearing what [the detective] believes is the sound of a gunshot. The 911 phone line remained open, but Mrs. Kirk is never heard from again," the detective writes.

Officers entered the home to find a black semi-automatic handgun on the floor of the front room and a cartridge on the floor in a hallway. Nearby police found Kristine Kirk lying on the floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene just before 10 p.m., police said.

The medical examiner said the woman died from a gunshot wounded to the head. The killing was ruled a homicide.

An officer who placed a handcuffed Richard Kirk in the back of a patrol car overheard the husband "rambling to himself" that "he had killed his wife," the document said. He is being held without bond on investigation of first-degree murder at the Downtown Detention Center.

Police obtained a warrant to search the home and to obtain a blood sample from Richard Kirk that will be analyzed to determine whether he had ingested marijuana or other drugs and medications, the document said.

While searching the home, a detective found a receipt in the basement for $32.70 worth of marijuana products purchased at 6:40 p.m. that evening from Nutritional Elements, a marijuana shop, at 2777 S. Colorado Blvd.

The receipt identified the purchased items as "Karma Kandy Orange Ginger," an edible marijuana candy, and "Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll," a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette, the document said.

Investigators obtained a store surveillance video that shows Richard Kirk purchasing the marijuana products, police said.

Police also obtained an additional warrant to search the family's Chevy Suburban, because investigators did not find the Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll in the home and believe it might be in the SUV he drove to the store.

"It is rarely the marijuana itself that is the primary problem. It's either decisions we make while smoking marijuana or additional substances that we've ingested," said Dr. Christopher Colwell, the chief of emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center. "It's remarkable to me how willing some folks are -- after they've smoked or eaten marijuana -- to take other things."
 
Colwell said it is not unusual for the effects of marijuana combined with other substances to be noticed well within the three hours between the time of Kirk's purchase and his wife calling 911.
 
"You could see effects within minutes of taking some substances," said Colwell. "The first time you take something you can have wildly different responses to it than, say, even your friends who have taken the same substance right there with you."
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