Suicides and suicide attempts following homicide: victim-suspect relationship, weapon type, and presence of antidepressants

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Suicides and suicide attempts following homicide: victim-suspect relationship, weapon type, and presence of antidepressants

Category: Homicide, Suicide|Journal: Homicide Studies (full text)|Author: C Barber, C Nie, D Azrael, D Hemenway, J Schaechter, L Olson, S Walsh|Year: 2008

This study used linked, official data for population-based surveillance of homicides, suicides, and homicide–suicides in four U.S. states and four counties. Among 1,503 homicide incidents, less than 5% (n = 74) were followed by the perpetrator’s suicide and 1% (n = 18) by a nonfatal suicide attempt. However, among men who killed their female intimate partner with a firearm, 59% also took their own life. Homicide–suicide perpetrators did not test positive for an antidepressant more often than other male suicide decedents (15% vs. 19%). Most (54%) perpetrators of nonfirearm homicides who attempted suicide lived; nearly all (93%) firearm perpetrators who attempted suicide died. Among men who killed their female intimate partner with a firearm, homicide–suicide was the norm. Better enforcement of existing laws designed to protect abuse victims by removing firearms from domestic abusers may also prevent abusers’ suicides.

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