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Denver man kills wife in front of child, while hallucinating

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(CNN) — A Denver woman called 911 when her husband began to hallucinate and speak of “the end of the world.”

For 13 minutes, the wife spoke of fear — for herself, their three scared children, her husband.

Richard Kirk wanted his wife to shoot him, she told 911.

She screamed when he went to the family safe and grabbed a gun.

The 911 operator heard what sounded like a gunshot. The wife went silent on the 911 call.

Responding police found her dead Monday in the family home with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, authorities said. She was identified as Kristine Kirk by CNN affiliate KWGN.

Multiple Denver outlets report that sources tell them the man possibly ate a marijuana edible.

Kirk admitted that he killed his wife — “without questioning,” a police document says — when an officer put him in the backseat of a patrol car, the probable cause document says.

Those harrowing events, provided by authorities, are now being investigated by Denver police, who are looking at how 911 handled the 13-minute emergency call and whether Kirk was using marijuana or another drug, authorities said Wednesday.

“This is under investigation,” Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said about the possibility of marijuana use.

Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, allowing pot stores to open for business on January 1.

kirkmugAt a court hearing Wednesday, Kirk, 47, was ordered held without bail on an accusation of first-degree murder, Denver court records showed.

In response to questions about the incident, Denver police posted on its Twitter page: “We will report the truth, even if mistakes were made.”

In response to apparent questions about the handling of the 911 call, the police posted another tweet: “No indication the call taker erred. Very tough call to handle, please give benefit of doubt.”

The city of Denver auditor’s office this year began studying police response times, which have grown longer in recent years, the Denver Post reported. The report is expected in June, and police have cited fewer officers and limited budgets for hiring more officers since 2008 as causes for longer response times, the newspaper reported.

Lance Kirk, brother of Richard Kirk, told KWGN that he was stunned to hear of the incident.

“I know that wasn’t Richard — let’s just say that,” Lance Kirk told the news outlet. “I hope there are some answers that come out about this.

“My heart goes out to those three boys and Kris’ family — mom, dad, sister and brothers,” Lance Kirk added, referring to his sister-in-law. “This is a terrible thing.”

Neighbors, family and friends told the station they knew the couple as loving and devoted parents.

“Whatever those boys are going through right now, my thoughts and my prayers are with them, and I hope that they find peace,” neighbor Kristin Fynewever told the affiliate.

Other neighbors told CNN affiliate KCNC that the couple’s three young sons are all in grade school.

“I used to go to school with them and they were really nice kids and they didn’t deserve for this to happen to their mom and their dad,” neighbor Alesa Moskal told KCNC.

CNN’s Mariano Castillo, Stefan Simons, Kara Devlin and Dottie Evans contributed to this report.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • Shana

    Please, he did this because he ate some marijuana? Give me a break! There was obviously some other problem here. Sorry, stoners just don’t go on a shooting rampage. I’m not buying this story.

  • tara reed

    1999 Warsaw Virginia. A man slammed his wifes head into a peg board and through her kitten into a wall hard enough to leave an outline. When arrested and a tox screan done, only pot was found in his system. After he was doneabusing his wife and the kitten he went to work like nothing happened. The house is the now little white shack barely off the road right past the tattoo shop. Unless someone fixed it, the wall is still probably damaged. Just like alcohol, not everybody reacts the same.

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      Why dont you also add how long after arrest the screening was done? Its a well known fact marijuana stays in your system 5-10 times longer than most other drugs. Also why did you fail to mention that as new drugs are created they arent always immediately seen in toxicology screenings? Thats how spice keeps getting sold. Reformulations that arent illegal and dont show up on drug screenings. If you are going to tell a atory don’t leave out important considerations.

    • Dustin Cavanaugh

      While I agree. There is not enough evidence given for such conjecture. That statement was added solely to stir the pot in an incomplete and ongoing investigation.

  • tjallen

    Likely that lots of people in Colo. have marijuana breakdown products in their system, can be detected for over 90 days after use – so every crime is going to be blamed on this now?

  • doug

    I love the shoddy reporting by a reporter with an agenda. How does marijuana even come up???
    Violence is so rare with mj use, how is that the first bit of stupidity the reporter jumps to??

  • Paul Rose

    The Perp’s are the responsible party and at this point, could there be anyone out there who still doesn’t know it?

  • athynz

    A marijuana edible – really, that’s what the crack reporter is going with? Sorry dude but marijuana does not cause one to hallucinate or become homicidal… unless the pot smoker is killing a bag of doritos. There was more he was on than just a bit of weed.

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