Violence Policy Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 2, 2006
CONTACT: Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x110
Ten Murder-Suicides Occur Each Week in America New VPC Study Reveals, Almost All Perpetrated With Guns
WASHINGTON - May 2 - More than 10 murder-suicides, almost all by gun, occur each week in
the United States, according to American Roulette: Murder-Suicide in the
United States, (http://www.vpc.org/studies/amroul2006.pdf) a new study
by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study used a national news clipping
service and Internet survey tools to collect incidents nationwide from
January 1, 2005, through June 30, 2005, and is one of the largest and
most comprehensive studies ever conducted on murder-suicide. During this
six-month period, at least 591 Americans died in 264 murder-suicides,
and almost all murder-suicides (92 percent) involved a firearm. Using
these figures, the VPC estimates that nearly 1,200 Americans die each
year in murder-suicides. Additional study findings include--
- Six states had
more than 10 murder-suicides in the six-month study period: Pennsylvania
(18); Texas (18); California (17); Florida (15); North Carolina (14);
and, Tennessee (11).
- Ninety-four percent
of the offenders in murder-suicides were male.
- Seventy-four percent
of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law
spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were
females killed by their intimate partners.
- Most murder-suicides
with three or more victims involved a “family annihilator”—a subcategory
of intimate partner murder-suicide. Family annihilators are murderers
who kill not only their wives/girlfriends and children, but often other
family members as well, before killing themselves.
- Forty-seven children
and teens under the age of 18 were murdered in murder-suicides.
- Most murderers
in murder-suicides are older than their victims.
- Seventy-five percent
of murder-suicides occurred in the home.
VPC Legislative Director
Kristen Rand states, “Murder-suicide wreaks havoc on hundreds of American
families each year. Much more needs to be done to understand and prevent
murder-suicide. One key aspect of prevention is reducing access to firearms,
by far the weapon of choice in murder-suicide.”