Epidemiology of Homicide-Suicide Events: Oklahoma, 1994–2001


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Abstract

In Oklahoma, all nonnatural deaths must be reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (ME), whose trained investigators report cause of death using a centralized, statewide, standardized reporting system. The purpose of this study was to determine temporal trends of Oklahoma homicide-suicide events and characterize the epidemiology of these events. By reviewing all ME reports of homicides and suicides from 1994 through 2001, we identified 73 homicide-suicide events resulting in 73 suicides and 89 homicides. Suicidal perpetrators of homicide-suicide events were most often white men aged ≥30 years who killed a current or ex-spouse or intimate partner. Homicide victims tended to be younger women the same race as their killer. Firearms were the predominant method of death in both homicides and suicides, with handguns used most frequently. Divorce/estrangement was the main contributing factor to these events, and the most common relationship type was possessive. The existence of a statewide, centralized, and computerized ME system and the ability to access the detailed information in the ME narratives were critical to identifying homicide-suicide events and obtaining the type of detailed information necessary to fully investigate these events.

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