Number of Accidental Gun Deaths
Of course this only counts the cases where the coroner of the county chose to report it as an “accidental GUN death”. Many coroners only list cause of death as “accidental”, and therefore the statistic may not incorporate all accidental deaths by firearms. PEDIATRICS Vol. 111 No. 4 April 2003, pp. 741-744
I do not know where to turn. My 34 year old son recently died of a gun shot to the face, it was ruled as suicide but we live in a rural community and a local county deputy is the one who ruled it as a suicide and there was no autopsy, which means there was no check to see if there was any signs of gun residue on his hands. My husband and I were in such shock we did not think to request anything. Our son was a father of three children, he was a father that was exceptional and continually hands on with his family, had a wonderful job, no money troubles, loved by everyone who knew him, never took any drugs or etc., was a wonderful husband and outstanding son. He recently had been trying to shoot cyotees that were hanging around the airstrip that he managed. When shot he was NOT leaning against the tree where his water bottle and a cup was sitting beside, the police report says he was standing beside the tree and the gun was a deer rifle. My question is, would it be a normal thing for someone to stand on their own to shoot themselves with a rifle or would they sit or lie down? The evidence shows that he was standing and not leaning or sitting. Also, a couple weeks before this the men at the airport said the news was talking about someone who was found and they couldn’t determine if the man had had an accident or on purpose and my son, who was always a quiet man, said there would be no way would he ever do such a thing as he had too much to live for and someone better investigate thouroughly if he ever came up dead. Well, I just found that our this weekend and I feel I have to start searching for answers. If you have any expertice on anything such as this I would appreciate you telling me where to search or how I would go about finding an agency to help. Thank you
C. Bolen, I am very sorry for your family’s loss. I actually came across this article and read your note as I am researching some statistics for a firearms class I am putting on. I am a retired police officer of 29 years, and retired as a homicide detective. It was my job to investigate any deaths, be they homicides, accidental or suicides. I’m sure that you are looking for answers, but they may be very elusive, as I have investigated many suicides that were not precipitated by actions we assume to be associated with suicides. However, I also know that agencies (especially small ones) do make mistakes and it can be extremely frustrating on how to seek out further answers.
To answer some of your questions, 1) GSR (gun shot residue testing) would not have been appropriate. Bolt action rifles do not leak gasses around where a hand may be holding the rifle like a handgun does, plus the tests have been historically unreliable. 2) Standing verses sitting. I have not seen a typical position for suicide, if the evidence shows standing, that would not rule it out.
Questions I would have: what was the distance determination of the gun shot wound (distance from mussel to victim)? Was a distance determination made? This could still be made if there were a good set of photographs taken of the victim and scene. Was there a blood test? What were the results (alcohol, prescription drugs etc…)? How was the gun loaded, one round, a full magazine? What was the trajectory of the shot (what position was the rifle in at firing)?
These questions can help in the determination, when interpreted by a trained death investigator. If you have any further questions, you can email me at email@example.com
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