Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

DENVER — Authorities were investigating Wednesday whether Denver police responded quickly enough to a woman who was fatally shot at least 12 minutes into a 911 call in which she said her husband was hallucinating and asking her to shoot him.

Police officials said their internal investigation will focus on the time it took officers to respond to the home of 44-year-old Kristine Kirk on Monday night, and whether dispatchers properly prioritized her call.

Denver police have struggled with slowing response times in recent months as department ranks have decreased due to retirements, departures and budget cuts that have kept the department from hiring for five years.

Complaints from residents and police officers prompted the Denver auditor's office to investigate the issue. A report is expected later this year.

Kristine Kirk told a dispatcher that her husband was "talking about the end of the world," and wanted her to shoot him, court documents state. She said he was hallucinating and scaring the couple's three young boys.

She also told a dispatcher there was a gun in the house in a safe. Kirk was asked a series of questions about her husband's medical history and possible drug use.

As the call continued, Kirk reported that her husband retrieved the weapon and she began to scream, according to the documents. Police said she was shot about 12 to 13 minutes into the call. Officers arrived just after the shooting and found her dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Her husband, Richard Kirk, 47, has been charged with first-degree murder and showed no emotion Wednesday during his first court appearance. He was held without bond.

Richard Kirk is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home.

Richard Kirk is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home.

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:03pm]

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