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Suicide Due to Four Speargun Shots: A Case Report

Bonsignore, Alessandro MD; Bernucci, Luca Vallega MD; Canepa, Marco MD; Ventura, Francesco MD, PhD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 201–204
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318288b0ed
Case Reports

In the literature, only a few cases of deaths related to the use of atypical firearms are present and even more rare are cases of suicide due to multiple lesions.

In the present case, the authors report a rare occurrence of suicide due to 4 speargun shots, 3 to the chest and 1 to the head.

A complete forensic approach led to attribute the death to acute cardiac failure due to hemopericardium after the injury of the left coronary artery.

Scene investigation and autoptic findings allowed authors to hypothesize that injury to the head was a last attempt of suicide, elapsed during the progression of cardiac tamponade.

With this report, the authors would like to share knowledge with the forensic community about speargun-related lesions distinguishing them from the very similar ones produced by cold steels.

It also shows how it is possible to survive for some time after being shot by such a weapon.

From the Department of Legal and Forensic Medicine, University of Genova, Genova, Italy.

Manuscript received April 23, 2012; accepted December 5, 2012.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Francesco Ventura, MD, PhD, Department of Legal and Forensic Medicine, University of Genova, Via A. de Toni 12, 16132 Genova, Italy. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.