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Kristine Kirk murder: 911 report suggests flaw in system may have contributed to her death

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Kristine Kirk. More photos, a video and more below.
Last month, Kristine Kirk was killed by her husband, Richard Kirk, while she was on the phone with a 911 operator. Afterward, the Manager of Safety launched an investigation into the 911 system's response in the incident, and earlier this month, an office spokeswoman told us she'd recommended against releasing the results of the inquiry on a Friday afternoon, a media dead zone when agencies notoriously issue unpleasant information. She agreed that the case was too important to treat in such a manner.

Well, guess what: The report was shared this past Friday afternoon, when it got little attention -- and the ambiguous conclusion offers a possible explanation why. While internal disciplinary proceedings are underway in the case, it appears the dispatcher may have followed protocol that wasn't changed until after Kristine's tragic death.

In our earlier coverage, we noted that on April 14, Kristine called 911 to say Richard was behaving strangely after possibly eating a marijuana edible; he was also on medication for his back. Kristine said Richard was hallucinating, talking about the end of the world and declaring his intention to shoot her -- which he did, while she was still on the line with the operator.

The call took in the range of twelve-thirteen minutes. Moreover, a police station is only a short distance away from the Kirks' home on St. Paul Street, near the DU campus, and officers were less than a mile away at the time of the shooting. If they'd been dispatched immediately, some observers believe a tragedy might have been averted.

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Richard Kirk in an image from his Facebook page.
This is hardly the only time 911 dispatch has come in for criticism. Last month, we reported that there have been sixty 911 dispatcher complaints over a two year period and at least one death -- that of Jimma Reat, who was with a group that had narrowly escaped an attack from occupants of another vehicle when a 911 dispatcher directed him and his companions to wait for a Denver police officer near the original scene. The men were soon spotted by the original assailants and Reat was slain.

In addition, a 911 investigation following the death of Loretta Barela was aborted when the dispatcher resigned. Manager of Safety communication director Daelene Mix (the spokesperson alluded to above) said this decision was made because of the determination that the dispatcher's error had been at fault in the case, for which Christopher Perea was convicted of murder, rather than there being a problem with the 911 system as a whole.

At the time of our previous conversation with Mix, the Kirk inquiry was incomplete -- but she revealed that "we've made some recent policy changes" that went into effect in late April/early May.

"Now, instead of one person having the discretion about when to dispatch emergency personnel to respond to a call, a supervisor within the 911 center is also notified," she said. "And instead of just monitoring these calls, the call taker is now physically alerting a dispatch supervisor. And police can now change the situation themselves. They have the discretion to make the call a code 10" -- immediate response with the use of lights and sirens.

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Booking photos of Richard Kirk linked to a previous DUI arrest.
These shifts create what Mix characterized as "a wide net of discretion, where there is more than one individual determining the appropriate response. And a lot of individuals who are part of that network have years and years of experience and situational awareness as it relates to emergencies."

The policy shifts aren't "a direct result of any one case," Mix maintained . Rather, they sprang from Manager of Safety Stephanie O'Malley's directive "to review policies that touch all our different agencies so that we can find ways to tighten them up."

Maybe so -- but the events described in the newly issued report about the Kirk shooting fit closely with the new guidelines.

Continue for more about the Manager of Safety's Office report about 911 response in Kristine Kirk's death, including additional photos, a video and an original document.


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46 comments
ljosephs1
ljosephs1

Wow! Reading below is just frightening... This is not just your problem these exact same issues are happening in my country, no guns though, knives, machetes and other weapons that kill. Idiots and non-English speaking phone operators, bad systems and a police force more concerned with themselves than the public. Oh, and a government that doesn't give a flying f... Something needs to give and it will, in the meantime be hyper vigilant, watch your back, lock all doors and trust no one. It's all we can do for now.

Julianne Butler
Julianne Butler

A friend was recently hit as a pedestrian in a parking lot, called 911 and was put on hold for 10 minutes. She finally hung up, they called her back and she couldn't understand the dispatcher so she hung up. They called back again and asked if she needed an ambulance in English that she could understand. Pretty scary.

llahnert
llahnert

Problem is people rely on the police and the government to protect people.  Fuck that, Im not putting my life and my safety into someone elses hands.  Last thing i want is to rely on the state or on a bullshit fucked government and system.  Bet a lot of you would be happy living in a society with no guns or weapons, a state that is controlled by police.  Sounds like Germany in 1933  

Tami Gibson
Tami Gibson

I am sure!! I called 911 because my security door's glass blew out and i thought it was a gun shot!! 911 didn't send anyone to my aid AT ALL, and i did find out later it was a rock, but it shot out the window so hard and fast, I didn't know at the time, and only after about 20 min on the phone with 911 did my neighbor show up and calmed me down and we figured out it was a rock, but if it had been someone shooting into my home, no one would have come and i might be gone!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Hey Douchebag, with that BULLSHIT name, you're an EVEN Bigger Joke than your homeboy DeMoron above !!!

Randy Hays
Randy Hays

That's what I said genius. SHE SHOULD have had one.

Frank Hickenlooperwooper Sturgell
Frank Hickenlooperwooper Sturgell

For the power and glory of a massively insecure weenie hiding behind a gun telling others f'off. No class from the 4th Reich.

Rich Lather
Rich Lather

So Daniel J King IV, do think Kristine Kirk should have been carrying a gun, Annie Oakley style, maybe give guns to the kids too, to shoot daddy first? Guns within easy reach in all rooms in case of trouble?

Leigh Ackerman
Leigh Ackerman

What's sad is this is getting little attention but I bet if she beat up her celebrity bro in law it would be a top trending story

NoisePollution
NoisePollution

If the police are going to take 12 minutes to respond to ANY call, they have absolutely ZERO right to advocate gun control in any shape, form , or fashion. The police are not here to protect anything except themselves.

Patrick Currah
Patrick Currah

Lets stop blaming flaws, if there truly was a flaw then its not like it was intentional. Its a tragic loss, lets focus on healing not blaming.

Skye Cameron
Skye Cameron

Cliff Lopez ---dumber ass liberal---thank this dumb ass liberal for teaching you how to spell dumb so you don't look it next time teapublican.

Mark Hendryx
Mark Hendryx

Yeah, if there was no gun in the house, I guarantee she would still be alive.

Rod Thompson
Rod Thompson

There's no bigger idiot than Daniel J King who crams his beliefs down Nancy's throat when she is simply offering a solution to escalating gun violence. Do you have a solution Daniel or do you just call people names?

Matt Pierce
Matt Pierce

12 minutes of talking, knowing a gun was involved, and they didn't send a damn cop? Yeah, something is absolutely not right here.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Fuck off, Punk - as I'm white & she's white, so how's that Racist, you fucking idiot ???

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

maybe...maybe not...but i'm 100% sure your posts will consist of racist/bigoted screed...fucking loon

John Wayne Claybaugh
John Wayne Claybaugh

Maybe, but if the gun wasn't loaded yet there is a better chance of survival.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

If she weren't such a pretty blonde, would this story be getting so much attention ???

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

The armed criminals out there LOVE idiots like Nancy Maitland Whittemore who likes to PRETEND her Democraps can simply Wave their #Magic Safety Wands & Poof all the guns from Baaaad guys will disappear too ???

Brandon Malone
Brandon Malone

I do agree that had the system worked directly she may still be alive. However, you cannot expect the police to "save" you. If you are in a situation that could turn violent then get the fuck out of there.

Brian Listy
Brian Listy

Blame the system, as usual. I think it was Obama's fault.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

You call 911 for immediate help not for a chat. I would not call unless it's an Emergency

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

Possibly, but there's really no way to know for sure. Police could have been immediately dispatched, arrived within a few minutes, and he could have shot her while they were coming up the walkway.

Traci Thompson
Traci Thompson

When the victim said her husband had a gun and asked the victim to shoot him, I feel the 911 dispatcher should have told the victim and her kids to.leave the house immediately, instead of a 12 min conversation with her

Mitch Siff
Mitch Siff

911 operators ask way too many question, in the few experiences I've had with them. I was almost a victim of road rage and they wouldn't send help because no one had shown "a weapon". Ridiculous.

Randy Hays
Randy Hays

Yes, she should have been armed.

Kay Dirling
Kay Dirling

"What if" is our favorite game, but for what purpose? It's impossible to say, and does no good to contemplate. If any one thing had happened differently, she might still be alive.

John Wayne Claybaugh
John Wayne Claybaugh

I am certain that if people handled the 911 call correctly this woman would still be alive.

NoisePollution
NoisePollution

Right. But you live in America. If you hate the Constitution so much...MOVE, loser!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

What a freaking moron!  So, you can guarantee the bat-shit crazy husband wouldn't have used a knife, his fists, a club, the car, a candlestick (for clue fans), a cast iron skillet or any number of other potentially lethal items?


Freaking numb-nuts.

NoisePollution
NoisePollution

You are highly annoying. Thank God the 2nd Amendment is NOT up to you!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues  ... yet he DIDN'T use a knife, his fists, a club, the car, a candlestick, a cast iron skillet or any other item, did he?


He used ... wait for it .... here it comes .... a fucking GUN !!


Guess why?

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay


Twisted logic from a twisted wink.


It is fairly easy to make the leap that he wanted her dead, given the fact that he fucking killed her.


JAZUS you are  stupid!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues


So shitwipe, are you guaranteeing that he would have used a knife, his fists, a club, the car, a candlestick (for clue fans), a cast iron skillet, and that she'd still be dead?


If not, you're just the same ignorant cunt you've always been.



fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @fishingblues  


So, dildo, are you also guaranteeing that she would still be alive?  If not, your response was meaningless, as usual.   

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