intent to die, 2) the suicidal subject must have a clear understanding on the finality of the act, 3) the suicidal subject must confront a law enforcement official to the degree that it compels the officer to act with deadly force, and 4) the suicidal subject actually dies - otherwise it is an attempted suicide by cop (Stincelli, 2001). The one thing that most of these people have in common is that the person who commits suicide-by-cop by definition has gone from being a victim to being a perpetrator (Brown, 1998). Obviously, a person who decides to commit suicide by the taking of their own life is a victim. When that line is crossed and they force a police office to take deadly action in a "kill or be killed situation", the victim is now a "perpetrator of suicide-by-cop" (Brown, 1998).
A new study performed by Deirdre Anglin, associate professor at the School of Medicine, H. Range Hutson, of Harvard, and Sgt. John Yarbrough, LASD, was published in the December Annuals of Emergency Medicine (Dingsdale, 1998). This study examined 437 officer-involved shootings investigated by LASD over an eleven year period from 1987-97 and found that suicide-by-cop accounted for 11% of the total shootings (Dingsdale, 1998). They found that the vast majority, 98% were male and 39% had a history of domestic violence (Dingsdale, 1998). It was also discovered there was a wide range in age, approximately eighteen to fifty-four years of age committed suicide-by-cop, but they did discover some similarities in behavior patterns such as, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and depression. Approximately 50% of the weapons used to threaten officers were firearms, with the overwhelming majority being operative and loaded (Dingsdale, 1998). Only 17% of suicidal individuals used replica firearms to provoke officers (Dingsdale, 1998).
Frequently, police officers whom are involved in "suicide-by-cop" situations have serious emotional and psychological scars. Officers may start second guessing their decisions, blaming them selves for the person's death, and chastising every decision thereafter. The...