Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 613–625 | Cite as

An examination of the situated transactions of firearm homicides

  • Jesenia M. PizarroEmail author
  • Karen Holt
  • Karissa R. Pelletier


This study employs a mixed methods approach, using quantitative analysis to discuss significant patterns, and qualitative analysis to provide descriptive accounts of homicide incidents. Seven hundred and five homicides that occurred in a northeastern city between January 1999 and December 2007 are examined to answer the following research question: Do the situated transactions of firearm homicides differ from those involving other weapons? The quantitative analyses found distinct patterns in offender intent, criminogenic tendencies, and situational attributes between firearm and other weapon homicides. The qualitative analysis revealed that firearms are most often utilized in homicides that can be understood as “doing crime,” where offenders and victims are engaged in a criminal lifestyle and firearms are an extension of this activity. Other weapons are associated with homicides concerned with “establishing moral order,” or defending values and ideals, between individuals who are intimate. The methodological and policy implication of these findings are discussed.


Violence Homicide Firearm victimization Firearm use Mixed methodology Qualitative methodology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Jesenia M. Pizarro, Karen Holt, and Karissa R. Pelletier declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesenia M. Pizarro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karen Holt
    • 2
  • Karissa R. Pelletier
    • 3
  1. 1.Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens Consortium (FACTS), School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety (CVPSCS), School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

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