Firearm Homicide-Suicides in North Carolina: Evidence from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System, 2004-2014

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Date

2016-05-17

Authors

Kerber, Rose

Advisors

Cook, Philip J

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Abstract

Homicide-suicides are a patterned type of violence that is distinct from other suicides and other homicides. The evidence presented in this analysis suggests that compared to both homicides and suicides, homicide-suicides are less reflective of personal problems experienced by the perpetrator and more reflective of troubled and abusive relationships between the perpetrator and the victim(s). The evidence suggests that perpetrators become maximally violent when they have lost control of a relationship. The intense fixation on the victim suggests that these incidents may be primarily homicidal. The suicidal act may be less premeditated than the homicide, and may instead reflect the perpetrator’s complete loss of control and inability to function without their primary relationship. Homicide-suicides are often preceded by a history of domestic violence and interaction with law enforcement. Interactions with law enforcement and the court system present key opportunities for intervention in abusive relationships that might prevent escalation. With better screening and robust policies that empower law enforcement and the court system to confiscate firearms from abusive individuals, hundreds of deaths could be prevented over the next decade.

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Kerber, Rose (2016). Firearm Homicide-Suicides in North Carolina: Evidence from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System, 2004-2014. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12036.


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