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Old 12-08-2004, 04:31 PM   #1
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'Suicide by Cop': Disturbing new trend revealed by USC study of fatal shootings

Source: http://www.usc.edu/hsc/info/pr/1vol4/434/shootings.html

'Suicide by Cop': Disturbing new trend revealed by USC study of fatal shootings

by Paul Dingsdale

A new study suggests that more than one in 10 fatal shootings by officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) is provoked by a suicide - people who wanted to end their lives and chose to instigate a shooting by threatening a police officer.

The study, whose principal investigators are Deirdre Anglin, associate professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine, H. Range Hutson, of Harvard, and Sgt. John Yarbrough of the LASD, was published in the December Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The researchers examined 437 officer-involved shootings investigated by LASD over the 11-year period 1987-97 and found that "suicide by cop" accounted for 46 (11 percent) of the total. "This suicide-by-cop phenomenon has attracted a lot of attention recently," said Anglin. "But this is the first study of its kind that goes beyond a simple collation of cases.

Noteworthy are the similarities the researchers discovered in those individuals who decided to end their life in this way. They found that the vast majority (98 percent) were male and 39 percent had a history of domestic violence. Past history of suicide attempts, as well as a high incidence of alcohol and drug dependency also tended to be characteristic. Approximately 50 percent of the weapons used to threaten officers were firearms, with the overwhelming majority being operative and loaded. Only 17 percent of suicidal individuals used replica firearms to provoke officers. "Previous reports have implied that suicidal individuals are not a legitimate threat to officers or civilians," Anglin noted.

The evidence gathered by the researchers also indicates that suicide by cop appears to be on the rise. Although there were 46 documented cases in the period 1987-97, 13 of these occurred in 1997 alone. Whether this was due to better documentation of cases by officers - or an actual increase facilitated by a "copy cat" effect of suicidal individuals hearing about suicide by cop - is not clear.

But whatever the reason for the escalation of the "suicide by cop phenomenon," the researchers see this as a trend with serious implications. Aside from the threat to officers and others posed by these suicidal individuals, there is the psychological impact on the officer to consider. "Many officers second-guess their decision to shoot in such situations," said Anglin. This may be compounded by the fact that deaths linked to this phenomenon are not generally recorded as suicides by coroners and medical examiners. The classification of these deaths as homicides may raise questions of legal liability for the officers involved.

Because law enforcement officers continue to encounter the suicide by cop phenomenon, the LASD was eager to participate in this ground-breaking study. "The Sheriff's Department was particularly helpful," said Anglin. "They had the insight to recognize the importance of the problem, and are now actively developing protocols and implementing strategies to better handle these suicidal individuals in the field." Using less lethal suppression such as Mace, Tasers, bean bag guns are examples.

Awareness of the suicide by cop phenomenon is equally important to health care providers, explained Anglin. "Most medical professionals know little about this phenomenon, and this has an obvious impact on patient care. Health care providers engaged in the resuscitation of individuals shot in these circumstances should be aware that they may be dealing with suicidal individuals. In addition, health care providers involved in the evaluation of potentially suicidal individuals must be aware that suicide by cop is an actual form of suicide."

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There was an instance of this at my school like this two years ago.
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Old 12-08-2004, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: 'Suicide by Cop': Disturbing new trend revealed by USC study of fatal shootings

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe


The researchers examined 437 officer-involved shootings investigated by LASD over the 11-year period 1987-97
You think they'd be better at math, being that they're doing a scientific study.

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe


Noteworthy are the similarities the researchers discovered in those individuals who decided to end their life in this way. They found that the vast majority (98 percent) were male and 39 percent had a history of domestic violence. Past history of suicide attempts, as well as a high incidence of alcohol and drug dependency also tended to be characteristic. Approximately 50 percent of the weapons used to threaten officers were firearms, with the overwhelming majority being operative and loaded. Only 17 percent of suicidal individuals used replica firearms to provoke officers. "Previous reports have implied that suicidal individuals are not a legitimate threat to officers or civilians," Anglin noted.

Am I missing something?! How do they honestly know these people were comminting suicide? Were there notes? I can see the replica firearms being a sign. But the rest of these statistics probably hold true for most criminals willing to wave a gun in front of a cop.
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: Re: 'Suicide by Cop': Disturbing new trend revealed by USC study of fatal shootings

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You think they'd be better at math, being that they're doing a scientific study.
If you count both 87 and 97 and the years in between, you get 11 years.
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:17 PM   #4
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Re: Re: Re: 'Suicide by Cop': Disturbing new trend revealed by USC study of fatal sho

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If you count both 87 and 97 and the years in between, you get 11 years.
Yeah I guess you're right, I need to get some rest. Insomnia sucks.
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:27 PM   #5
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I've heard about this. Very sad.
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:46 PM   #6
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This is not a new trend, its just getting more attention.

And its horribly sad for everyone involved but most especially the police officer who will no doubt feel guilty for the rest of his/her life. A lot of times, they actually get sued by the deceased person's family, which just adds to what they are already going through.
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Old 12-08-2004, 05:56 PM   #7
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Gosh, how sad.
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's American Wife
This is not a new trend, its just getting more attention.

And its horribly sad for everyone involved but most especially the police officer who will no doubt feel guilty for the rest of his/her life. A lot of times, they actually get sued by the deceased person's family, which just adds to what they are already going through.
The article is a little out of date, from 1998, but yes. I think it leaves emotional scars on the officers who might think at the time of crisis that they're defending themselves.
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:27 PM   #9
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I'm not deminishing the loss of the families or the suffering the cops have to go through, but am I the only one that didn't see the proof of suicide in all these cases? It seemed like a leap in logic. Yes I'm sure this happens all the time, but I'm really bothered by this so called study. Maybe I'm missing something and if that's the case I'm sorry, I'm very sleep deprived and honestly can't even if I tried. But something seems to be missing. I've dealt with a lot of suicide in my life and it's not something you want to label on a whim.
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Old 12-08-2004, 11:26 PM   #10
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Suicide by cop has been a trend for awhile
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Old 12-08-2004, 11:53 PM   #11
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If it matters, the story was found on a Yahoo category. I suppose I can spare you a link: http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Cul...uicide_By_Cop/
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:36 PM   #12
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I read about this one guy who actually left a note that said "to the cop who shot me".
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