The Difference Between Living and Dying: Victim Characteristics and Motive Among Nonfatal Shootings and Gun Homicides

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Using both official and unofficial data sources, researchers examined nonfatal (n = 617) and fatal shooting (n = 159) victim characteristics over an 18-month period in Indianapolis. This research revealed that the typical shooting victim was male, non-White, almost 29 years old, had been arrested prior to inclusion in this study, and had been shot more than once. Interestingly, this research supports the notion that nonfatal shooting and homicide victims are different, especially as they relate to victim age, gunshot wound severity, and shooting motive. It highlights the need for better gun violence data collection beyond what currently exists. Striving for improved, more comprehensive cross-sector data collection has implications beyond just police policy and practice to include public health and prevention efforts.

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