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Suicidal Shotgun Wound Employing a Shotgun Barrel, a Shotgun Shell, and a BB

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A vast majority of firearms-related suicides involve the conventional use of a properly functioning, intact firearm. Occasionally, forensic investigators encounter a case wherein the firearm suicide victim employs some form of unconventional use of a weapon, or utilizes an unusual weapon type. In this case report, the authors present an unusual case in which a man committed suicide by using a shotgun shell, a shotgun barrel (separate from the rest of the gun), and a BB. Some confusion as to the cause and manner of death was present during the initial scene investigation. Examination at autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a shotgun wound of the chest and prompted further scene investigation. Therefore, this case serves as another example of the importance of cooperation between scene investigators and forensic pathologists when investigating a death. A review of suicidal firearm cases using unconventional means and/or firearms is presented.
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Keywords: forensic pathology; forensic science; homemade guns; investigation; scene; shotgun; suicide; zip guns

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Portage Police Department, 2693 Irving Street, Portage, IN 46368. 2: South Bend Medical Foundation and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend at the University of Notre Dame, 530 N. Lafayette Blvd., South Bend, IN 46601.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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