More Than 1,100 Murder-Suicide
Deaths—From the Virginia Tech Massacre to Domestic Disputes—Occurred in
2007, New Study Estimates
Third Edition of
Violence Policy Center Study "American Roulette" Estimates That Nine Murder-Suicides
Occur Each Week in U.S., Vast Majority with Guns
least 554 Americans died in murder-suicides during the first six months
of 2007 with the vast majority (88.5 percent) involving a firearm, according
to the third edition of the Violence Policy Center's (VPC) study American
Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the United States. Using these figures,
the VPC estimates that more than 1,100 Americans died in murder-suicides
in 2007. The murder-suicides included in the study range from high-profile
mass shootings like the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech massacre to familial
shootings claiming the lives of spouses and children.
For the study, the
VPC used a national clipping service to collect every reported murder-suicide
in the United States from January 1, 2007 to June 30, 2007. Currently
there is no national tracking system for these incidents. As a result,
the VPC analysis is most likely the largest study conducted on murder-suicide.
Nine states had 10
or more murder-suicides in the six-month period of the study. In order,
these states were: Florida (24), Texas (24), California (17), Pennsylvania
(14), Arizona (12), Georgia (12), New York (11), North Carolina (10),
and Ohio (10). Additional study findings from the six-month survey period
- Of the 554 murder-suicide
deaths, 234 were suicides and 320 were homicides. Ninety-five percent
of murder-suicides were committed by men.
- Nine murder-suicide
events occurred in the United States each week during the study period.
- Seventy-three percent
of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law
spouse, ex-spouse, or girlfriend/boyfriend). Of these, 94 percent were
females killed by their intimate partners.
- Forty-five of the
homicide victims were children and teens less than 18 years of age.
Forty-four children and teens less than 18 years of age were survivors
who witnessed some aspect of the murder-suicide.
- Most murder-suicides
occurred in the home (75 percent).
VPC Legislative Director
Kristen Rand states, "From homes and businesses to schools and churches,
murder-suicide wreaks havoc on American families and communities each
year. Much more needs to be done to understand and prevent murder-suicide,
including recognizing the key role that firearms play."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x110