The Washington, D.C., region has had an unusual spate of 4 murder-suicides within 2 weeks, says the Washington Examiner. “Every once in a while there is a cluster of these crimes that makes you wonder,” said Prof. Jacquelyn Campbell of John Hopkins University’s School of Nursing. “But this doesn’t seem to be a copy-cat phenomenon, like adolescent suicide. It seems to be pretty random.” About 1,600 women are killed every year by a partner or ex-partner, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, and 30 percent of those are murder-suicides, says Campbell.
The D.C. region’s recent killings appear to fit the bill for “the stereotypical murder-suicide scenario,” said Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center. In the vast majority of murder-suicides, the killers are men, the victim is an intimate partner, the crime scene is the home,and the murder weapon is a gun, she said. “The most striking thing is that the patterns repeat themselves over and over and over and over,” she said. Murder-suicides are most often precipitated by a breakdown in the relationship between two people who are romantically involved, experts said. In more than 70 percent of cases, the perpetrator has a record of domestic violence.