Six Murder Suicides in Tennessee in Four Weeks

In the last four weeks, there have been six murder suicides in Tennessee, resulting in the deaths of 14 individuals. These numbers do not include domestic violence shootings where the shooter kills a woman but not himself, or firearm suicides.  According to data from the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, every year in Tennessee, approximately 600 people, or 50 every month, use a firearm to take their own life. According to data from the Violence Policy Center, Tennessee is fourth in the nation for women murdered by men, most often with a gun and almost always by a current or former intimate partner.

“Firearm murder suicides are unfortunately very common in our country, and we certainly see a number of them in Tennessee each year,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Safe Tennessee policy director. “But six in a four week period is alarming. Research shows that the presence of a gun increases the risk of homicide for women and is a risk factor for suicide.  Sadly, often domestic violence shootings and firearm suicides intersect in the form of murder suicides.”

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Women in the U.S. are 11x more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries
  • Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined
  • The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%
  • In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, means matter:

“Each incident is different, each circumstance is different,” said Roth. “All share one common denominator: a gun in the hand of an angry man, a man who almost always has displayed warning signs and red flags in their recent past.”

Gun violence restraining orders (GVROs), also known as “red flag bills” would allow law enforcement officers or immediate families members to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from the possession of a person they believe is an imminent risk to themselves or others. Even with the high number of domestic violence shootings and firearm suicides in our state, Tennessee legislators refused to give the GVRO bill filed by Senator Lee Harris a hearing in 2018.

Tennessee Murder Suicides – May 12th through June 6th

June 6, 2018 – Mt. Juliet
A Mt. Juliet woman was reportedly shot and killed by her husband, who then killed himself hours later. The two were arguing about their child’s birthday party.  Both of the couple’s children were present. The mother took the children inside the home when the argument began.  When she came back outside, her husband shot her.

May 28, 2018 – Murfreesboro
Sean Ganey, 29, shot his wife, Cassidy Ganey; her stepmother, Shelly Lorenz-Adair; and her father, Kenny Adair, and then himself. A handgun was found at the scene beside the bodies.  Deputies had been called to the home Friday and had taken Sean Ganey to a hospital after he expressed suicidal thoughts. A child was present in the home around the time of the shooting but is safe.

May 21, 2018 – Paris
40-year-old Demarrio Borum killed 29-year-old Jessica Jones.  When police responded to a shots fired call at a home, they found Borum in the back yard with a gun. He put the weapon to his head and threatened to kill himself.  He then went inside the home, refused to speak with officers, and fatally shot himself.

May 20, 2018 – Chattanooga
Chattanooga Police found 48-year-old Kimberly Williams in a parking lot, deceased from a gunshot wound.  Nearby, they found Frederick Tragressor in a vehicle suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Police determined that Tragressor shot Williams and then shot himself. Williams worked as a resident assistant where she was a caregiver to people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

May 16, 2018 – Murfreesboro
After responding to a 911 call, authorities made contact with 47-year-old Anthony Gaunichaux, who had his wife, 36-year-old Amanda Gaunichaux, and their 2-year-old son inside the home. Anthony Gaunichaux placed the couple’s son outside the home and then fatally shot his wife before taking his own life. Amanda Gaunichaux was a heart nurse practitioner at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital for eight years.

May 12, 2018 – Townsend
The deaths of a former University of Tennessee professor and his lawyer wife, who were found dead in their home Saturday, are consistent with a murder-suicide.  As officers responded to a welfare check after receiving word of a person in the home with a weapon, they heard a gunshot.  Kenneth Allan Jacobs, former director of the UT School of Music’s composition program and his wife, attorney Melinda Howes Jacobs, both died from fatal gunshot wounds.