Police investigate possible pot role in Denver woman's killing; husband, Richard Kirk, arrested

DPD probes why victim on 911 call for 12 minutes

DENVER - Denver police are investigating why a woman was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher for about 12 minutes before she was shot dead, allegedly by her husband.

Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher that her husband had taken a gun from a safe and she screamed as the sound of a gunshot ended the call, according to a police report.  

Police said they are investigating whether marijuana use played a role in the Monday night killing. A dispatcher radioed that the woman said her husband had been smoking marijuana, according to a recording of police radio traffic on Broadcastify.com.

What began as a domestic violence call escalated as Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher that her "husband was hallucinating" and "talking about the end of the world and he wanted her to shoot him," a detective who listened to the 911 call wrote in a police report.

The woman initially told the dispatcher there was a gun in the house, but it was secured in a safe. Then she relayed that her husband's hallucinations were "scaring their three small children," the police report said.

Finally, the woman said that "her husband had retrieved the gun from the safe and she began to scream," then a gunshot was heard on the 911 recording, the detective wrote in a statement supporting the arrest of 47-year-old Richard Kirk in connection with the killing at the family's home at 2112 S. St. Paul Street, near the University of Denver.

Officers arrived to find 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.

Police said as an officer placed Richard Kirk in the back of a patrol car, he volunteered "that he killed his wife," the arrest affidavit said. He is being held without bond on investigation of first-degree murder at the Downtown Detention Center.

The arrest affidavit said that police "were sent to the address" at about 9:32 p.m.

Yet, the timeline of when the 911 call began, the dispatch of the officers and their arrival at the home are under review.

In a statement, the Denver Police Department said police and the Combined Communications Center 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."

Richard Kirk's only prior arrest in Colorado was for driving under the influence and careless driving in 2000 in Douglas County.

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