A study conducted by The New York Times has found 121 murder cases in the United States, which involve veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars following their return from the front.
The newspaper said that in many cases, combat trauma and stress from overseas deployment appear to have set the stage for the killings, along with alcohol abuse and family problems.
The research showed an 89 percent increase — from 184 cases to 349 — in the six years following the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan in the number of homicides involving active-duty military personnel and new veterans, The Times said.
About three-quarters of these cases involved Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
More than half the crimes involved guns while the rest were stabbings, beatings, strangulations and bathtub drownings, the report said.
Twenty-five offenders faced murder, manslaughter or homicide charges for fatal car crashes resulting from drunken, reckless or suicidal driving.
About a third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives, among them two-year-old Krisiauna Calaira Lewis, whose 20-year-old father slammed her against a wall when he was recuperating in Texas from a bombing near Falluja that severed his foot and damaged his brain, The Times said.
However, a quarter of the victims were fellow service members, including Army Specialist Richard Davis, who was stabbed and then set ablaze by fellow soldiers a day after they all returned from Iraq, the paper noted.
Three-quarters of the suspects were still in the military at the time of the crimes.
To compile the list, The Times conducted a search of local news reports, examined police, court and military records and interviewed the defendants, their lawyers and families as well as the victims' families.
It said the study most likely uncovered only the minimum number of such cases, given the fact that not all killings, especially in big cities and on military bases, are reported publicly or in detail.