Experts say murders, suicides share same emotions
Fri, 06 Feb 2015 23:10:21 GMT —
The Richland County coroner has identified Raja Fayad of Columbia as the shooting victim in Thursday's murder-suicide on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
The professor at the school was found dead in an office of the Arnold Public Health Research Center from multiple gunshots wounds to the upper body and a woman, who has since been identified as Fayad's ex-wife, was also found dead in the room.
Agents have searched several locations but found no note to possibly give a motive for the shooting.
Jennie Cassidy, director of counseling services at Coastal Carolina University, says she can only speculate on why someone who is suicidal would decide to take another person's life along with their own.
"Perhaps they're so close to somebody that they can't imagine going on to the next life without that person, or perhaps there may be a jealousy factor where they can't bear to have that person go on without them," said Cassidy.
In the USC case, a male professor was apparently the murder victim, while a female he was in a relationship with committed suicide.
A North Myrtle Beach counselor says murder-suicides often center around some injury that's happened in a relationship.
"Whether it's somebody leaving, that's always a very dangerous situation, when someone leaves and the other person doesn't want that person to leave and they feel abandoned or betrayed," said Roberta Bogle, clinical director at the Center for Counseling and Wellness.
Bogle says homicide is often linked with anger, and suicide with sadness, but the two share an emotional bond.
"Both are very extreme emotions, which hijack our higher thinking, so we don't think correctly when we're in those states of mind," said Bogle.
It's unusual in the USC case that a female committed suicide and a firearm was involved.
Bogle says men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, and more likely to use a gun.
The Violence Policy Center, a Washington-based research group, says 95 percent of murder-suicides in the U.S. involve a handgun.
Typical suicide warning signs include someone who talks about death a lot, or is reckless in their behavior.
Cassidy says if you see those signs in a friend, don't be afraid to talk.
"Talking about it is the first step to them getting help and that's what's going to make a difference," said Cassidy.