According to a recent study, perhaps as many as 1/10 of all suspects fatally shot by police officers are suicidal and have committed their crimes with the intention of being killed by the police. The majority of people who choose to commit suicide in this fashion are males, which seems to fit the trend of males using more violent methods to commit suicide than females. An uncharacteristically large percentage of them have a history of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

Approximately one-half of individuals who end their life in this manner threaten the police with a real loaded firearm. About 20 percent use replica firearms.

Suicide by cop is on the rise. Police consider this an especially undesirable method of suicide because of the psychological impact it has on the officers involved. Many police are now aware of the problem and try to use nonlethal force when possible.