The Police Response

Cory Kotrba and Randi Regensberg resided together for a time. But Regensberg left the residence in early April 2006. Some friends have said that Kotrba kicked the pregnant woman out.

According to friends statements Randi Regensberg had gotten the paperwork for a restraining order against Kotrba, but did not sign them. Reportedly she was afraid that Kotrba would lose his job as a fireman and she did not want that to happen.

July 7, Randi Regensberg was 6 months pregnant with Kotrba’s child. She and a female friend drove to Kotrba’s apartment about 6 pm to pick up her mail and get some money. Regensberg went to the apartment and the female friend remained in the vehicle.

When Regensberg did not return to the car after an hour, the friend called other friends to come and at some point she went to the door of the apartment. She thought she heard Regensberg call her name. A call was made to police at 7:51 pm.  Other friends arrived at the apartment and 4 other calls were made to police over the next hour and a half. Police had not yet responded to the calls. Someone from a neighboring apartment tells the friends that they saw Kotrba pull Regensberg into the home, and that information was relayed to police in one of the calls. At some point the dispatcher was also told that Kotrba had been physical with Regensberg in the past. And they were told that Kotrba did have firearms.

At 9:29 pm, Katrba’s roommate arrived at the home. They opened the home with a key and found the bodies of Randi Regensberg and Cory Kotrba. Both were dead from gunshot wounds.

During one call to police the dispatcher told the friends that there had been a number of shootings and stabbings that night and that their call had been placed in the queue. The police chief has made this comment about the police response:

“This was a very unfortunate series of events, and that is why I immediately wanted to look at our policies,” “In this case, the dispatchers followed (our procedures). All of their information was second, third and even fourth hand. It’s important that the people who see what happened first hand call us so we can get real information.” (emphasis added by  me)

Reportedly the department had three priority classifications for 911 calls. Priority 1 is calls with first hand information of a crime in progress that threatens persons or property. Priority 2 was information about a crime from 2 nd hand information and domestic violence not involving violence and shoplifting. Priority 3 was delayed reports of burglary, vandalism, and minor accidents. Police say they have now changed their policy so that any report of violence is now priority 1.

Police say they believe that even if they had responded to the first call, it would have been too late. They say from the condition of the home, they believe that Randi Regensberg was killed soon after she entered the apartment.

The family has now filed suit against the Albuquerque police department. The suit alleges that officers did not arrive at the home for an hour and a half after the first phone call to 911, and that police downgraded the priority because no one saw an act of violence. They contend in the suit that the department policies led to Randi Regensberg’s death.                               

Considering how many domestic violence crimes are unable to have a 1 st hand witness report, this type of policy is troubling. How many times has a domestic violence victim only had time to hit their speed dial and hastily tell someone to call police? How many times has a neighbor heard suspicious sounds from a nearby apartment or home and tried to call in out of fear that a violent crime was occurring but without actually witnessing any violence? How many times has a friend or relative seen the beginning of a domestic violence incident and called it in out of fear of what would follow after the couple left their sight?

Many of the articles about the crime are now in the pay-per-view sections of the archives now. But I recommend reading the article as it gives a sense of what those friends went through as they were waiting on an officer response, and the lengths they went to try to help their friend.

This story came to my attention when D.P. originally posted it at Crime News