In the week since teachers and students were massacred in a Connecticut school, little has been reported on the shooter’s motivation. In murder-suicide cases, an explanation is often hard to find. Uncovering the reason behind violence often takes patience and persistence. Most often, though, the motivation behind a murder-suicide is found in the shooter’s relationships. University of Kentucky professor Sabrina Walsh directs Kentucky’s Violent Death Reporting System. Since 2005, the system has tracked violent deaths in the Commonwealth.
“What we are looking at are descriptions of the events and what precedes the events. And what we found, a lot of these cases involve relationship problems, intimate partner discord. We have found chronic mental health issues and also acute mental health issues,” said Walsh.
By seeking out the motivations behind murders and suicides, Walsh says they can work to prevent them. Her research is funded by the national Centers for Disease Control.