After a long battle with ridiculous euphemisms, I have come to define and classify suicide by cop as clearly and distinctly as that written below. I must have hit the mark since editors of Black's Law Dictionary contacted me requesting permission to use these definitions in their next updated edition. Of course I was honored to oblige.
Suicide-by-cop: A colloquial term used to describe a suicidal incident whereby the suicidal subject engages in a consciously, life-threatening behavior to the degree that it compels a police officer to respond with deadly force.
Police-assisted suicide: A term used by some researchers to describe a suicide whereby the suicidal subject completes the act with the assistance of a police officer.
Victim-precipitated homicide: A term which implies a shared responsibility between two (or more parties) whereby a suicidal subject provokes his or her own death by means of another.
Although simplified, the criteria below may be used to qualify the suicide
The suicidal subject must demonstrate the intent to die
The suicidal subject must have a clear understanding of the finality of the act.
The suicidal subject must confront a law enforcement official to the degree that it compels that officer to act with deadly force.
The suicidal subject actually dies - otherwise it is an attempted suicide by cop.
The ongoing debate centers around the argument that suicidal subjects may not be in a "knowing" state of mind during the event to understand the outcome. Since most who choose this method of suicide are generally "under the influence," I can understand that. However, interviews I've conducted indicate that while these individuals are in a high emotional state, the majority consciously chose this method due to their belief that the officer will indeed act with deadly force.