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Journal Article


Kuehn B. J. Am. Med. Assoc. JAMA 2019; 321(10): 931.


(Copyright © 2019, American Medical Association)






The rate of school-associated homicides involving multiple victims has increased substantially since 2009, while the rate remained constant for those involving single victims, according to a CDC analysis. Firearm injuries were the cause of death for 95% of multiple-victim and 62.8% of single-victim school homicides during the years 1994 to 2018 and 1994 to 2016, respectively.

Researchers mined data from the School-Associated Violent Death Surveillance System, which collects media reports and information from law enforcement. They identified 423 school-linked homicide incidents between July 1994 and June 2016, which accounted for 1.2% of homicides among children aged 5 to 18 years in the United States. Of these, 393 (92.9%) involved a single victim and 30 (7.1%) involved multiple victims, which resulted in 90 youth deaths. Investigators identified 8 more multiple-victim, school-associated homicide incidents between July 2016 and June 2018 that claimed 31 youth lives.

Males were the perpetrators in the vast majority of both single-victim and multiple-victim homicides (80.4% and 97.9%, respectively). Whites made up the largest proportion of perpetrators in multiple-victim homicides (46.8%) while non-Hispanic blacks made up the largest proportion of perpetrators in single-victim homicides (38.8%). Many of the perpetrators who used guns in school-related homicides were younger than 18 years and acquired firearms from home, a friend, or relative, the authors note.

Males between the ages of 15 and 18 years were disproportionately the victims of single-victim school homicides, which were often motivated by gang-activity (58.2%) or interpersonal conflicts (44%). Youth in urban areas and racial/ethnic minorities were most likely to be victimized. Multiple-victim incidents involved roughly equal numbers of female and male victims, nearly 25% of whom were between 5 and 9 years of age. Multiple-victim perpetrators were most often motivated by a desire to retaliate (39%) for perceived wrongs such as bullying, peer rivalry, or receiving a bad grade, followed by gang-activity (34.1%) and interpersonal disputes (29.3%)...

Language: en


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