Documents detail how dispatchers handled call that ended in mother’s murder
DENVER — Kristine Kirk was on the phone with 911 when her husband is accused of pulling the trigger, killing her Monday night in their south Denver home.
Denver Police held a news conference Thursday to defend their response to the domestic violence call.
FOX31 Denver has learned that an officer was at 4th Avenue and Race Street when the call came in. It took 13 minutes to the to the victim’s house on South St. Paul Street near East Evans Avenue. It’s a standard response time.
But it’s the communication that took place in between that time that’s creating concern.
FOX31 Denver obtained the incident detail report from a law enforcement source that shows notes the 911 call taker made, giving us our first look at the timeline of what happened in this case Monday night.
At 9:31 the call taker makes the following note: “Husband on possible marijuana.”
The police dispatcher, who is a different person, goes over the air on the police radio with this information: “332 Adam. 2112 South St. Paul Street on a report of a domestic violence in progress. RP versus her husband who’s been smoking marijuana.”
Around the same time, the call taker who was still speaking with Kristine Kirk writes: “Weapon in house — handgun.”
By now the dispatcher has sent an officer on what they think is a routine welfare check. At first there is no sense of urgency. “Be advised they do have a handgun in the house, but it’s not in anybody’s possession,” the dispatcher said over the radio.
Five minutes later, at 9:36 the call taker notes: “Husband talking about end of world/life.”
It’s clear the caller was scared by this time. The call taker notes: “The children in room with door closed.”
At 9:43, the call taker writes Richard Kirk, the husband and suspect in the shooting, is in the safe getting the gun. The call taker also hears the wife screaming.
A minute later, at 9:44 p.m., there is nothing heard and the phone line is open.
“It’s a real challenge to drive and read [a computer screen],” Denver Police Chief Robert White said during a news conference Thursday.
Sources say the investigation is over whether proper procedure was followed — looking at why the dispatcher never aired over the radio what she was reading from the call taker on the call screen.
On one of the radio reports, you can hear the first officer on-scene at 9:45 learning about what happened by reading the computer screen in his patrol car.
Officer: “332 Adam.”
Dispatcher: “332 Adam go ahead.”
Officer: “Yeah, according to the notes he grabbed the gun and she’s screaming and the line disconnected. Can you speed up cover?”
By this time the officer was two minutes too late. Police say Richard Kirk already shot his wife in the head. The say he admitted pulling the trigger.
The question remains whether as the situation escalated, had officers rushed to the scene, would they have been able to prevent Kristine Kirk’s death?
A high-ranking official at Denver Police contacted FOX31 Denver late Thursday night to relay a statement relating to the dispatcher who is being disciplined in connection with this case.
“The events are tragic and it’s a difficult situation for everyone including her. There is a process taking place regarding her job, and she does not want to make any further comment and asked that we respect her privacy.”