(Received 24 June 1986; accepted 4 August 1986)
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The weapon at the scene of a suicide provides a resource in addressing such questions as frequency of blood in or on the weapon, location of the weapon with respect to the body, and evidence of firearm discharge residues on the hand. The first 195 weapons were tested for blood by a technique different from the following 202 weapons. Results were obtained which caused procedural changes in blood detection. Data are presented for frequency of blood in and on the muzzle of weapons, relative frequency of location of suicidal gunshot wound, and percent “positive” findings of gunshot residue metals on the hands. It was found that suicidal gunshot wounds were 3 times more frequent to the head than the chest, and that no significant difference was noted between males and females in this study. Scene photographs reveal that the suicide weapon is in or resting on the hand of the decedent 20% of the time with handguns and 11% of the time with long guns.
Chief, Physical Evidence Section, Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, TX
Stock #: JFS12377J