MIAMI – A new FBI report finds active shooter attacks are on the rise. The FBI defines an active shooter as "one of more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area."
The agency counted 61 incidents in 2021, up more than 50% from 2020, and up nearly 97% since 2017. According to the FBI data, active shooter incidents left 103 people dead and 140 wounded, not including the shooters, in 2021.
Retired FBI Special Agent Katherine Schweit launched the agency's active shooter program after Sandy Hook.
She says, "When I started this effort 10 years ago, I never thought that we were gonna see these kinds of numbers."
The FBI's new report shows active shooter incidents spanned 30 states in 2021, 12 of the incidents were considered mass killings, including last year's supermarket attack in Boulder, Colorado, that killed ten people.
"This means risks every place in the country, risks and businesses, risks and every place you go, whether it's to church on Sunday or whether it's to the mall on Saturday or whether your kid goes to school," Schweit says.
The FBI also noted the emergence of "roving active shooters" who targeted their victims in multiple locations over the course of one or more days.
While overall incidents are up, experts see one encouraging trend in the report, casualties per incident are down.
"That's possibly because law enforcement is engaging more with these shooters and getting to the scenes faster, that's what I think," Schweit says.
Schweit urges community members and family members to also be vigilant and report any warning signs to authorities.
The FBI reports that in 2021, law enforcement took 30 of the suspected shooters into custody. 11 died by suicide while 14 were killed by law enforcement and four killed by armed citizens. One suspect died in a car accident during a pursuit with law enforcement. One remains at large. Two law enforcement officers were killed during the attacks and five were injured.
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