PD: Wife was on phone with 911 dispatch when she was murdered


Denver police arrested Richard Kirk on April 14, 2014, in connection to the death of his wife. (Photo: DPD)

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(Credit: Denver Police Department)
(Credit: Denver Police Department)

DENVER — The husband of a woman found shot in the head in her home Monday night near the University of Denver has been arrested in connection with the death, the Denver Police Department said.

Richard Kirk, 47, is being held for investigation of first-degree murder.

According to a probable cause statement, Kirk admitted to police that he shot his wife, Kristine Kirk, 44, at their home in the 2100 block of S. St. Paul Street.

Police were called there around 9:30 p.m. Monday night after Kristine Kirk called 911 saying her husband was talking about the end of the world, the PC statement said. Richard Kirk “wanted her to shoot him,” the statement said.

The victim “then said that her husband was hallucinating and he was scaring their three small children,” the statement said.

Kristine Kirk said in the 911 call that there was a gun in the house, but that it was safe.

“She then said that her husband retrieved the gun from the safe and she began to scream,” the statement said.  A gunshot could then be heard followed by silence.

The 911 call lasted 13 minutes, police said.  DPD plans to investigate the emergency call and police response to the homicide.

“Anytime 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,” said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

When police arrived, they found Kristine Kirk dead inside the home.  She had been shot in the head, police said.

A source told FOX31 Denver that investigators are looking into the possibility Richard Kirk ate a marijuana edible before the shooting.

Jackson said investigators were “looking at their possibly being a marijuana aspect to this particular investigation.”

It appears at least one of the couple’s three boys may have witnessed the crime.

Police were seen escorting a little boy to a patrol car outside the home.

“My heart goes out to those three boys and Kris’ family,” said Vince Kirk. He’s the brother of Richard Kirk who police say murdered his wife.

Kirk said his brother wasn’t suffering from any mental health issues. “Not that I know of,” he said.

“We’ve talked to numerous parties outside the home, taking them downtown to talk to them” Jackson said. “Hopefully through conversations with them we can get a better determination to what happened. Once we get inside, we’ll collect the evidence and see how that supports what we’re hearing.”

Neighbors said family seemed “very loving.”

“Whatever those boys are going through right now, my thoughts and my prayers are with them and I hope that they find peace,” said neighbor Kristin Fynewever. “She seemed very loving and I’m very, very sad and shocked that this happened.”

Richard Kirk says his brother was not a regular pot user and prays that the explanation for what happened is a bad drug and not a bad person.

“I know it wasn’t Richard – let’s just say that. I hope there are some answers that come out about this. Was it marijuana? I don’t think so.”

This is the first murder in the University Park neighborhood since at least 2009, as far back as online Denver Police data goes.

LINK: See crime trends in your neighborhood with the DPD Crime Map

Since the beginning of the year, there have only been three “violent crimes” in the University Park neighborhood — one sexual assault, one robbery and one aggravated assault.

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