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FBI Releases Study on Active Shooter Incidents

Summary of 160 active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)
Summary of 160 active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a study on active shooter incidents over a decade. The study, with the title “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013”, also found that there has been a steady rise of active shooter incidents per year.

Graph showing the increase in the number of active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)
Number of active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)

The study began in early 2014 with assistance from Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center. The researchers looked for active shooter incidents in the U.S. during the selected time frame using official police records, after action reports, and shooting commission documents as well as FBI resources and open source information.

The study contains a full list of the 160 incidents used in study, including those that occurred at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary School, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fort Hood, the Aurora (Colorado) Cinemark Century 16 movie theater, the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, and the Washington Navy Yard, as well as numerous other tragic shootings

Special Agent Katherine Schweit — who heads the FBI’s Active Shooter Initiative—says she hopes the study “demonstrates the need not only for enhanced preparation on the part of law enforcement and other first responders, but also for civilians to be engaged in discussions and training on decisions they’d have to make in an active shooter situation.”

Using the results of this study, the FBI’s behavioral analysis experts will conduct studies that will delve deeper into why these shooters did what they did in an effort to help strengthen active-shooter prevention efforts around the U.S..

Major Findings

Here are some of the major findings of the study:

  • Active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent—the first seven years of the study show an average of 6.4 incidents annually, while the last seven years show 16.4 incidents annually.
  • These incidents resulted in a total of 1,043 casualties (486 killed, 557 wounded – excluding the shooters).
  • All but six of the 160 incidents involved male shooters (and only two involved more than one shooter).
  • More than half of the incidents—90 shootings—ended on the shooter’s initiative (i.e., suicide, fleeing), while 21 incidents ended after unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter.
  • In 21 of the 45 incidents where law enforcement had to engage the shooter to end the threat, nine officers were killed and 28 were wounded.
  • The largest percentage of incidents—45.6 percent—took place in a commercial environment (73 incidents), followed by 24.3 percent that took place in an educational environment (39 incidents). The remaining incidents occurred at the other location types specified in the study—open spaces, military and other government properties, residential properties, houses of worship, and health care facilities.
Casualties in active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)
Casualties in active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)
Active Shooter locations
Location of active shooter incidents. (Source: FBI, 2014)

You can read the study HERE.