Colorado police investigate ‘possible marijuana link’ after woman is killed at Denver home while making desperate 911 call

Kristine Kirk told dispatch officers her husband was ‘hallucinating’ before he retrieved gun from household safe

Police in Colorado are investigating whether marijuana use played a role in the death of a woman in Denver, who was killed by a gunshot to the head at the end of an increasingly desperate 911 phone call.

Kristine Kirk, 44, could be heard telling Denver Police dispatch that her husband was “hallucinating” and “talking about the end of the world” before he retrieved a gun from a safe and she started screaming.

Officers were sent to the address at 9.32pm on Monday night believing they would be dealing with a domestic disturbance, but 13 minutes later a gunshot was heard over the phone, after which the caller fell silent.

Police arrived at the home in the affluent Observatory Park area just two minutes after that, and arrested 47-year-old Richard Kirk on suspicion of murder.

A spokesperson for Denver Police, Sonny Jackson, told local TV station Fox 31 that investigators were “looking at their possibly being a marijuana aspect to this particular investigation”. He refused to comment on whether or not marijuana or any other drug had been retrieved from the family’s home.

According to a statement of probable cause filed on the case by Detective Troy Bisgard, Ms Kirk said her husband had initially “wanted her to shoot him”.

Detective Bisgard, who listened to the 911 call after arriving at the scene, described how Ms Kirk said “there was a gun in the residence but that it was in a safe”.

“She said that her husband was hallucinating and he was scaring their three small children. She then said that her husband retrieved the gun from the safe and she began to scream. Detective Bisgard then heard an apparent gunshot and the victim was not heard on the call again,” the document read.

Photo of Richard Kirk provided by the Denver Police Department. Kirk is being held for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home (AP) Photo of Richard Kirk provided by the Denver Police Department. Kirk is being held for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home (AP) Detective Bisgard added that, according to one of the first officers to arrive at the home, “Mr Kirk told [him] without questioning that he killed his wife”.

Mr Jackson said that the recording of the 911 call would not be released to the public during the course of the investigation.

Vince Kirk, Richard’s brother, told Fox 31 that he hoped the incident could be explained by drug use, but added that his brother wasn’t suffering from any mental health issues and that he was not a regular cannabis user.

Local media reported that at least one of the couple’s three small children may have witnessed the attack itself, and a little boy was apparently seen being led away to a police car.

Police are investigating whether marijuana played a role in the killing (AP) Police are investigating whether marijuana played a role in the killing (AP) “My heart goes out to those three boys and Kris’ family,” said Vince Kirk. “I hope there are some answers that come out about this. Was it marijuana? I don’t think so.”

According to the Denver Post, which reported the timeline of events based on police dispatch radio conversations, officers on their way to the home “were warned that Kirk’s wife said he had been smoking marijuana”.

Crimes that potentially involve the use of marijuana are currently under intense scrutiny in Colorado, after the state became the first to legalise recreational use of the drug this year.

According to the LA Times, last month the Denver coroner’s office linked the suicide of a 19-year-old college student to marijuana intoxication. He had reportedly eaten a cannabis-laced cookie before jumping off a balcony.

Partygoers smoke marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales in Denver Partygoers smoke marijuana during a Prohibition-era themed New Year's Eve party celebrating the start of retail pot sales in Denver Denver Police also said an investigation had been launched to establish whether or not police should have reached the Kirk household sooner, given that the local police station is just one mile away.

The city’s police chief Robert White has blamed longer response times in recent months on budget cuts and decreasing staff numbers.

A statement from the police department said: “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.”

Mr Kirk appeared in court on Wednesday morning, the Denver Post reported, and was assigned a public defender. As of Wednesday night, formal charges had not been filed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
News
Williams says: 'The reason I got jobs was because they would blow the budget on the big guys - but they only had to pay me the price of a cup of tea'
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee