Gunshot wounds: Suspicious, Suicide or Accidental??
What about gunshot deaths? What type of gun was used? Is it still there? If it’s not, then it probably wasn’t a suicide! Or did a family member think hiding it would save the family the embarrassment of a suicide? – which it doesn’t – it only creates suspicion – usually toward the person covering it up… So many little factors to consider. What does the blood say? Does it make sense with the story provided, is it where you would expect it to be? Is it smeared when it shouldn’t be? Are there any footprints or fingerprints in the blood? What type of wound is it? Is it one that the victim could have lived a few minutes? If they used a long gun, it is possible or impossible they could reach the trigger? What do the measurements say? We measure the from the end of the barrel to the trigger, and the end of the arm to the wound. Did they use something to reach the trigger? I had one fella that used a large bar-b-que brush to push the trigger because his arm wasn’t long enough – but the blood was where it belonged. And of course the brush was right there next to him and under part of the shot gun. Is there a note or a video of their intent to kill themselves? Have they made any recent threats or comments about suicide? Were they familiar with guns? Were they AFRAID of guns? If someone suggests it was an accident during “cleaning” the gun, then I want to know have they ever cleaned a gun before? Where was the gun usually kept? Did that person know the gun was there if it was not theirs? Many questions to consider when a gun has been used.
Something that really confuses family is they often say the person had been depressed but recently had been in a better mood, so they are shocked that they might have killed themselves after being so “happy” lately! The reason this happens is that the person has made up their mind to kill themselves and they begin to feel less stressed and relieved that their pain (emotional and/or physical) will soon be over. They tend to give things away, get their affairs in order, spend time with people they care about, etc… Sometimes we will find literature at the scene indicating suicide planning. There are people who have basically written the “how to’s” of suicide – which I won’t list the sources or titles here for obvious reasons.
I will cover the guilt and grief of those left behind after a suicide in a later post – and unfortunately I will partly be speaking from personal experience.