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For Immediate Release

Contact

Marty Langley, 202-822-8200 x109, mlangley@vpc.org

Press Release

More Than 1,300 Murder-Suicide Deaths Occurred in 2011, New Study Estimates

Fourth Edition of Violence Policy Center Study “American Roulette” Estimates 12 Murder-Suicides Occur Each Week in U.S., Vast Majority With Guns
WASHINGTON -

At least 691 Americans died in 313 murder-suicides during the first six months of 2011 with the vast majority (89.5 percent) involving a firearm, according to the fourth edition of the Violence Policy Center’s (VPC) study "American Roulette:  Murder-Suicide in the United States" (http://www.vpc.org/studies/amroul2012.pdf).  Using these figures, the VPC estimates that more than 1,300 Americans died in murder-suicides in 2011 and that 12 murder-suicides occur in the United States each week.    

For the study, the VPC used Internet news reports to collect every reported murder-suicide in the United States from January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011.  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.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Murder-suicides destroy families and negatively impact entire communities.  While the factors contributing to murder-suicide are becoming better understood, much more needs to be done from a prevention standpoint, including recognition of the key role played by firearms.”

Additional information contained in the report includes the following.

o  Of the 313 murder-suicide incidents, 280 were known to involve a firearm (89.5 percent).

o  Of the 691 murder-suicide deaths, 313 were suicides and 378 were homicides.  Ninety percent of murder-suicides were committed by men.

o  Seventy-two percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, or ex-girlfriend/boyfriend).  Of these, 94 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.

o  Fifty-five of the homicide victims were children and teens under 18 years of age.  Sixty-six children and teens under age 18 were survivors who witnessed some aspect of the murder-suicide. 

o  Sixty-nine percent of murder-suicides involving a male murderer and three or more homicide victims were perpetrated by family annihilators.

o  Most murder-suicides occurred in the home (80 percent).

o  Eleven states had 10 or more murder-suicides in the six-month period of the study.  In order, these states were:  California (34); Florida (27); Texas (20); Louisiana (14); Pennsylvania (14); Illinois (12); Alabama (11); New York (11); Tennessee (11); Virginia (11); and, Arizona (10).

###

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives.

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