Cause of Death:
- 103 were listed as having died from natural causes.
- 86 natural deaths involved children under 1 year old.
- 3 children had HIV/AIDS.
- 10 deaths were “undetermined.”
- 38 children died from violent acts.
- 36 of these deaths were ruled homicides.
- 32 of these deaths were the result of youth violence.
- Ninety-seven percent of these were caused by firearms.
- 100 percent of these decedents were known to the District’s public-assistance program; 38 percent were receiving services.
- 50 percent had a diagnosed mental illness and received public mental health services.
- 53 percent were known to the District’s juvenile justice system.
- 34 percent reported dealing with issues of grief and loss.
- 38 percent were known to the District’s child-welfare system.
- 21 of the 160 fatalities were youth known to the juvenile justice system within the two years prior to their deaths.
- 1 was a suicide.
Case Study No. 1: Abuse Death
“At approximately 2:00 PM, DC medics responded to a report of a toddler ‘having breathing difficulty.’ CPR was performed on the scene and in route to the hospital. Once at the hospital life saving measures continued but failed; the child was pronounced dead at 3:35 PM. Investigation revealed the child had been in the care of the mother’s paramour, who eventually admitted to ‘accidentally killing the child.’
Cause/Manner of death: Blunt Impact Trauma of Torso with Lacerations of Liver, Spleen, Pancreas, Kidneys and Right Adrenal Gland/Homicide.”
Case Study No. 2: A Suicide
“DC Medics arrived on the scene and found a teenage victim lying on the floor, unconscious and unresponsive, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Resuscitation efforts were initiated on the scene and continued in route to a local hospital. Life saving measures continued in the hospital emergency room; however, efforts failed and the victim was pronounced dead approximately one hour after arrival.
Based on the investigation, the events leading to the death involved a domestic dispute between the victim and his significant other. As the argument began to escalate, the victim began making suicide threats.
Based on family members interceding, the argument subsided several times and would then resume shortly afterwards. After approximately an hour, a relative reported hearing a loud noise and then the victim’s paramour scream repeatedly, ‘he shot himself.’
The investigation revealed the decedent had threatened to take his life numerous times prior to the fatal incident. It was also revealed that friends were aware that the decedent had a gun and on at least one other occasion had placed the gun to his head and threatened to [shoot] himself.
The victim had an extensive history with the mental health system but was non-complaint with his treatment and medication during recent years. Based on the autopsy, the victim had experienced significant losses as evident by several tattoos observed during the examination. His toxicology screen at autopsy was positive for methamphetamines.”