A case of suicide-by-cop

Jens Falk, Thomas Riepert, Markus A. Rothschild

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12 Scopus citations


A young man was shot dead on the street by police officers. The results of the investigation indicated that the use of firearms had been provoked with suicidal intent by the victim. A 25 year old man intruded with his car into a row of six police vehicles that was in the midst of an operation. Upon stopping at a traffic light he left his vehicle and pulled out a weapon which was later determined to have been a blank cartridge pistol. He took aim at the officers in the following vehicle from a distance of not more than 2 m. Despite repeated orders to put down the weapon, the man did not comply. Thus, as a result of the presumed threatening situation in which four officers were involved, several shots fell that were fatal for the individual. In the postmortem examination the cause of death was determined to be haemorrhagic shock due to penetration of the aorta by a projectile. On the basis of the results of the investigation a particular form of suicide was presumed since a depressive disorder in some form had been present. The man had expressed suicidal thoughts several times and had taken conspicuous leave of his wife on the day of the incident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-196
Number of pages3
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Blank gun
  • Depression
  • Provoked homicide
  • Suicide-by-cop


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