NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Murder-suicides are on the rise in Tennessee and the experts can’t tell us why.

In the Metro Office of Family Safety, January is a fresh slate.

“The start of every new year is a hopeful time,” said Director Diane Lance. “Maybe this will be the year we have no domestic homicides in our community.”

Just shy of two weeks into the new year, Metro Police reported an 80-year-old man shot his 51-year-old daughter-in-law before turning the gun on himself in their Hermitage home.

‘It certainly is disheartening when the first one does happen,” said Lance.

Between 2017 and 2019, the number of murder-suicides dropped. If you look at the numbers from 2012 to 2016, the spike in recent years is significant.

“A trend upwards,” said Lance. “It used to be in Nashville we saw zero to one domestic murder-suicide a year, and now we’re seeing multiple. We’re seeing that trend across the state and I’m hearing that that’s a national trend.”

While she could not say what’s behind the trend, Lance said threats of suicide should always be taken seriously, and if there is a history of domestic violence there, she said it changes everything.

“Anyone who is in a home with a domestic violence abuser and that person is threatening suicide, that person has a lot less to lose to kill you as well, so be very, very careful,” said Lance.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or you’re unsure about whether or not your situation is domestic violence, you can speak to an advocate at the Family Safety Center at 615-880-1100. To speak with someone on a 24-hour hotline, you can contact the YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-334-4628.



Rebecca Cardenas is a Murrow-award winning journalist who joined News4 as a reporter in September 2017. She currently covers the court systems in Middle Tennessee.

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