Hartman's Death: The Police Version

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Phil Hartman's distraught wife confessed to a friend that she killed the comic actor, police said Tuesday. Ron Douglas calmly informed police Brynn Hartman was highly intoxicated when she told him about the shooting. "She said she had killed her husband, and I didn't believe her," Douglas told a dispatcher during an urgent 911 call to police at about 6:30 a.m. last Thursday. Ending five days of silence in the Hartman murder-suicide investigation, Cmdr. David Kalish released the 911 tape during an evening news conference and said: "Brynn Hartman shot Phil Hartman multiple times."

Also according to police: Mrs. Hartman, 40, went to Douglas's home "sometime before 3 a.m." and told him what she had done, but Douglas was skeptical until he saw her gun, which he took from her and placed in a plastic bag. They then went to the Hartman home in separate cars. During the drive, Mrs. Hartman placed a cellular telephone call to an unidentified friend to whom she also confessed the killing, Kalish said. Douglas entered the Hartman's Encino home and saw the body of the 49-year-old entertainer in the bedroom. He went to another room to make the 911 call while Mrs. Hartman locked herself in the bedroom with her dead husband.

Kalish estimated that in the 10 minutes it took police to arrive, Douglas collected the couple's sleeping 9-year-old son, Sean, from another bedroom and took the child outside, where he handed the boy and and the weapon over to arriving officers. Another officer grabbed the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Birgen, from another bedroom, and a single gunshot was heard from the couple's bedroom. Brynn Hartman, who had re-armed herself with a second weapon, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Both weapons were registered to the Hartmans. The commander said there was no evidence Hartman was having an extramarital affair or had plans to end the couple's marriage.