HOMICIDAL DEATHS BY FIREARMS IN PESHAWAR: AN AUTOPSY STUDY

Authors

  • Zahid Hussain
  • Mian Mujahid Shah
  • Hakim Khan Afridi
  • Muhammad Arif

Abstract

Background: Medico legal autopsies can be valuable sources of information about thedistribution of causes of reported deaths, particularly in homicidal cases. The present studyprovides information regarding the homicidal deaths due to firearm injuries in the district ofPeshawar, NWFP, Pakistan. Methodology: This descriptive study was conducted over the periodof the year 2004. Data were collected from the autopsy records of the Department of ForensicMedicine, Khyber Medical College Peshawar and included all reported unnatural deaths fromurban and rural areas of district Peshawar on whom autopsies were conducted in the department.Results: Homicidal deaths constituted 77.7% (492/633) of all autopsies for the year 2004. Of 492homicidal deaths, a vast majority of 452 (91.87%) were caused by firearm injuries. Among these,the male to female ratio was 5.5:1. The most common firearm weapon (418/452, 92.5%) werehigh velocity rifled weapons (Kalashnikov, rifles, pistols), followed by low velocity rifledweapons (18/452, 3.98%) and shotguns (16/452, 3.54%). A total of 956 injuries were found invarious body areas, giving an average of over two injuries per person. The head, face and necksustained the highest injuries (257, 26.9%), followed by the chest (248, 25.9%) and abdomen(149, 15.6%); the extremities, buttocks and genitalia together sustained 302 (31.6%) injuries.Conclusion: The vast majority of reported homicides in Peshawar are caused by firearm injuries,which bring up issues related to possession of firearms and changes in cultural attitudes towardsuse of firearms, if a decrease in firearm-related homicides is desired.Key Words: Firearms, Homicide, Autopsy.

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