Before 20 children died in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and before 19 students died at Robb Elementary School, the shooters turned their guns on family members. The man who shot his five children, wife and mother-in-law in Enoch, Utah, in January had previously been investigated for allegedly choking his daughter. Just Friday, prosecutors said an Ohio man killed his three sons with a rifle and shot his wife as his daughter ran to get help.
As rates of gun violence increase in the United States, experts have identified a disturbing, decades-long trend: There’s a clear intersection between mass shootings and domestic violence toward family members.
More than half of mass shootings — those involving four or more victims — are “actually shootings of intimate partners and families,” said April Zeoli, Ph.D., an associate professor and the policy core director for the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan. Zeoli studies the intersection of domestic violence, gun violence and policies aimed at curtailing both.
Even in cases where family members and partners are not killed, the perpetrators of mass shootings often have a history of domestic violence, she said.
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