Deaths due to tired bullet injuries: Evaluation from medical, legal, and social perspectives

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2024 Jul;30(7):493-499. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2024.40245.

Abstract

Background: In Türkiye, as in other parts of the world, there is a rising trend in individual armament and firearm violence, resembling an epidemic. When fired into the air, bullets eventually lose the initial speed with which they left the barrel and begin to accelerate downwards under the influence of gravity as they fall to the ground. At this point, these projectiles are referred to as 'tired bullets,' which cause serious injuries and fatalities. This study evaluates autopsy cases of deaths due to tired bullet injuries. We aimed to raise social awareness and contribute to the literature by exploring the forensic, legal, and social dimensions of tired bullet injuries.

Methods: From 2013 to 2022, 695 forensic autopsies of gunshot wounds were reviewed at the Trabzon Forensic Medicine Group Presidency. Nine cases were identified where individuals had undergone autopsies and the cause of death was attributed to tired bullet injuries. The data for the cases included in the study was sourced from our archive records and the UYAP (National Judicial Network Project) system. The second stage involved analyzing reports of falling bullet injuries from local and national newspaper websites. In the third stage, the Supreme Court decisions regarding perpetrators of tired bullet incidents were examined.

Results: The study included six male and three female cases, with an average age of 32.5 years. Injuries were predominantly located in the head in seven cases, the eye in one case, and the inguinal region in another. In eight cases, the bullet trajectory was from top to bottom. The incidents predominantly occurred in residential areas. It was observed that all cases received coverage in both national and local media, and campaigns against tired bullet injuries were organized. The perpetrators of these injuries were frequently sentenced for murder with probable intent.

Conclusion: Tired bullet injuries represent a significant public health issue that necessitates comprehensive preventative measures addressing medical, legal, and social dimensions. There should be national and international campaigns led by the media, involving all public institutions, organizations, and non-governmental organizations to promote individual disarmament, highlight the dangers of firearms, and stress the importance of these initiatives.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autopsy
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Forensic Ballistics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot* / mortality
  • Young Adult