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An Unusual Zip Gun Suicide—Medicolegal and Ballistic Examination

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Abstract:

Abstract: 

Home-made guns are imitations of typical firearms and usually have handgun characteristics. This article presents an unusual case of a suicide carried out by means of a fatal gunshot wound to the head using a home-made zip gun. A 49-year-old male, with a history of paranoid psychosis was found dead in the dwelling place of a family house. The investigation at the crime scene did not lead to suspicion of a gunshot wound because of the unusual nature of the firearm used. A medical examiner diagnosed an opened head injury as the primary cause of the victim’s death. The autopsy findings provided immediate grounds for further inspection of the crime scene. Subsequently, a simple zip gun, which had been overlooked during the scene investigation, was discovered. An undeformed projectile recovered from the victim’s head was consistent with the use of the home-made firearm. Following the completion of the investigations and autopsy, the death was classified as a suicide.

Keywords: ballistics; case report; forensic science; gunshot wound; home-made firearm; suicide

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01202.x

Affiliations: Institute of Legal Medicine, Charles University, Šimkova 870, 500 01 Hradec Králové, Czech Republic.

Publication date: January 1, 2010

bsc/jfo/2010/00000055/00000001/art00047
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