Suicide by Firearms: A 15-year Experience

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A retrospective review of 1704 cases of suicide involving firearms investigated by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office between 1984 and 1998 was performed. The age distribution was similar in male and female victims, and the type of weapon was not associated with age. Approximately 78% of the victims used a handgun (87% of female and 76% of male victims). In 4.0% of head wound cases, the site of the entrance wound was the back of the head. Thus, this report refutes the common belief that all gunshot wounds to the back of the head represent homicides. In 1.9% of the cases, the wounds were inflicted at intermediate range. With handguns, the right temple was the most common site, but with rifles and shotguns, the most common site was the mouth.

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