Murdered Denver Woman On Phone With 911 for 13 Minutes

Why did it take Denver Police officers more than 15 minutes to arrive at the home of Kristine Kirk? She was dead by the time they got there. She spent her last 13 minutes of life on the phone with 911.

Kirk called 911 at 9:31 pm. She grew more panicked as the call progressed. She told the operator her husband was hallucinating and had taken drugs, there were kids in the house, he said he wanted her to shoot him, he went to take the gun out of the safe, and then, that he had the gun and she didn't know where to go. Those were her last words before being shot to death. Police finally arrived but it was too late.

The Kirk's home is 1.1 miles from the local police station -- a 3 minute drive. [More...]

Denver Police say something obviously went wrong, but they don't know what. The affidavit for search warrant at the Kirk home is here.

The media wants to play up that the husband ate a piece of marijuana candy while taking pain pills. I want to know why the 911 dispatch operator didn't ensure that a car reached her in time -- and why the first two officers dispatched didn't go right to the house.

The Denver Post reports the dispatch officer sent out a dispatch to 2 officers at 9:32 p.m., followed by a "code 10" (highest possible alert) at 9:45 pm. Officers arrived at 9:47 p.m.

Why did those two officers not go directly to the house at 9:32 p.m.? DPD provided this weak (and in my view, non-credible, response)to the Post:

The department has acknowledged that it has been taking longer for officers to respond to calls — delays Chief Robert White has blamed on decreasing staff and budgets.

At the same time that officers were driving to the Kirk house Monday night, other officers were being dispatched to at least one other domestic-violence call, according to dispatch recordings.

How many man-hours have Denver Police assigned to cover the 4/20 marijuana celebration this week? Did they cut back officer scheduled hours on essential services so more officers could cover the event while avoiding overtime? I have no idea, but if they did, that's not the fault of the budget, but of poor police management. 4/20 is generally a peaceful event. (Last year there was a problem, but it was an isolated event.)

Since Kirk's husband has been charged with murder and it's not a who-done-it (he was at the home when police arrived, and without being questioned, he started rambling that he had killed his wife) three young boys will now grow up without either parent. It is beyond tragic that had police arrived after 5 or 10 minutes, the gun would have still been in the safe and Kristine Kirk would be alive.

When the eventual lawsuit by the family of Kristine Kirk against Denver is settled, this will cost the taxpayers plenty.

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  • Display: Sort:
    If the lawsuit were against a CA public entity, (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 02:42:58 PM EST
    That entity would have the benefit of a line of cases holding the entity and its employee officers and 911 dispatcher did not owe a duty to the victims.

    welcome to rural america (none / 0) (#2)
    by gilligan on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 03:48:20 PM EST
    The Denver police blew it on this one, but the plain fact is that tens of millions of Americans live more than fifteen minutes drive away from any law enforcement.

    That is true (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sj on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:24:15 PM EST
    It is also true that much of rural America lives more than 15 minutes away from emergency medical care.

    But that is irrelevant as far is this situation is concerned.


    Yes, I live in (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:47:04 PM EST
    a very rural area, and emergency responses are a long way away.
    But this woman lived in a city, with help very near.
    So your comment has nothing whatsoever to do with this case.

    I hope this isn't OT (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:57:03 PM EST
    But I live as rural as it gets and that is not really my experience.  Can't speak for any other area, I'm sure it varies greatly, but around here -and here is a 3 hour drive from an airport or anything resembling a metro area - the response times are pretty good.

    I know this because I have both law enforcement and EMTs heavily resented in my family.  My nephew who is A first responder -  here they respond to fire police and medical emergencies - lived with me for a year.  His radio was always with him.  Always.  He slept with it on his pillow. When it went off he was off.  No matter what he was doing or what the time of day or the weather.  

    Anyway, my rural experience is not as bad as yours I guess.  I would say a 15 minute reinserted time here would be very very rare.  And most likely only happen if someone was far Far back in the middle of nowhere.  And some are.


    Interesting Typo (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 05:37:13 PM EST
    I have both law enforcement and EMTs heavily resented in my family.

    It is more like (none / 0) (#8)
    by Zorba on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 05:54:35 PM EST
    A half hour, here.
    And I am talking about fire, ambulance, and police, which we and/or neighbors have experienced.
    But then, we live on top of a mountain.

    I think (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 06:05:18 PM EST
    "Sort or rural" May fare worse that actually rural.  I don't know what your area is like but one reason it probably works here is that there are so few people.  And they pretty much know where everyone lives.

    There are two questions (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 04:33:29 PM EST
    1. Did the MJ interact with the pain pills and cause him to kill his wife?

    2. Why did it take the DP so long to respond?

    Both need answering.