Denver police are investigating a murder this week after a woman called 911 and spent 13 minutes on the call before help arrived.
Kristine A. Kirk told the dispatcher that her husband, Richard, was hallucinating, talking about the end of the world, and asking her to shoot him, although she said the gun was locked up in a safe. Kristine and their three children were afraid for their safety, she said. Several minutes later, she was dead from a gunshot to the head, leaving the neighborhood in shock.
"They're a great family with great kids," said neighbor Lily Weiner. "All of this just doesn't make sense. She was beautiful. She was a great mom."
Richard Kirk does not have a record in the state other than an arrest in 2000 for suspicion of DUI, and those who knew the family are stunned after the news worked its way around on Monday night. Authorities say they are investigating marijuana as a possible cause for Richard's hallucinations, and he has been arrested on charges of first-degree murder.
— Tom (@BoreGuru) March 9, 2013
Call 911 in Denver - Expect Response, 14 minutes later http://t.co/H4rjaoNz
— ElsaElsa (@ElsaElsa) December 5, 2012
Denver has come under fire in recent years for delayed response times during 911 calls, and while there's no confirmed average time, many have reported waiting up to 15 minutes for help to arrive. According to Denvergov.org, the wait time depends on many factors. Police Chief Robert White has said that budget cuts and the inability to hire new officers over the last six years is to blame.
"While it is reasonable to want to know how long it will take for an officer to respond, there are several logistical and operational barriers that make it difficult for call-takers to provide citizens with an estimated time of arrival (ETA). Due to the dynamic of constantly changing call volume, officer availability cannot be precisely estimated. Some calls may be resolved in just a few moments, while others require more thorough investigation and could take hours to complete," reads a statement on the site.
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