Active shooter incidents increased more than 50 percent last year, FBI data shows

Dec 3, 2022
Joshua Chiarini

103 people were killed, and 140 were wounded in 61 active shooter incidents across 30 states last year, the FBI reported.

Active shooter incidents in 2021 surged by more than 50 percent from 2020 and nearly 97 percent from 2017, according to new FBI statistics released Monday.

In 2021, there were 61 active shooter incidents, defined as one or more people actively engaging in killing or trying to kill in a populated area by firearm, the FBI said in a report.

That is an increase of nearly 53 percent from 2020, when 40 active shooter incidents were reported. The number of cases also grew, from 30 each in 2019 and 2018 and 31 in 2017.

The report also observed an emerging trend of roving active shooters, meaning shooters who open fire in multiple locations either in a day or in various locations over several days.

Active shooter incidents spanned 30 states last year, killing 103 people and wounding 140 others. The casualties listed in the report do not include the shooters, the report said. The year before, active shooter incidents across 19 states killed 38 people and wounded 126.

There were 61 shooters in the 2021 incidents— 60 of them male and one female, ages 12 to 67, the FBI data shows.

Thirty of the 2021 shooters were apprehended, 14 were killed by law enforcement, four were killed by armed citizens, one was killed in a vehicle accident in a pursuit by law enforcement, 11 died by suicide, and one remains at large.

Across the incidents, two law enforcement officers were killed and five were wounded — the same number of killed or wounded officers as in 2017. They are the lowest figures in five years, from 2017 to 2021, the report said.

The FBI did not break down the shooters’ motives in its annual report. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why it does not disclose that information. The FBI said in a news release that the reports “are not intended to explore all facets of active shooter incidents” but rather are meant to provide law enforcement officers, other first responders, and the public with a “baseline understanding” of such incidents.

However, the report found that there were relationships between shooters and their targets or targeted locations. Six shooters were employees, four were former employees, two were current students, two had past personal or professional relationships, and one was a business owner.

A dozen of the active shooter incidents last year met the definition of "mass killings," defined as three or more killings in a single incident. That is up from five incidents meeting that definition in 2020.

California had the most reported incidents, six, followed by five each in Georgia and Texas, four each in Colorado and Florida and three apiece in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The shooting at the FedEx Ground Plainfield Operations Center in Indianapolis in April 2021 and the shooting at a Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee, in September caused the most casualties, meaning people who were killed or wounded, at 15 each, the report stated.

Eight people were killed in the FedEx shooting, and seven were wounded.

One person was killed in the Kroger shooting, and 14 were wounded.

The incident with the most deaths, 10, was at the King Soopers Grocery Store in Boulder, Colorado, in March 2021.

Meanwhile, more people died from gunfire in the U.S. in 2020, the most recent year for which complete data are available, than at any other time on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were more than 45,000 firearm deaths that year.

From 2019 to 2020, firearm homicide rates in the U.S. increased by almost 35 percent, the highest level recorded in over 25 years, affecting all age groups and widening existing racial and ethnic disparities across the country , the CDC said.

Text & Image Source: Active shooter incidents increased more than 50 percent last year, FBI data shows

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