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Active shooter incidents rose over 50% in 2021 compared to 2020

FBI reports spike in active shooter incidents
FBI reports spike in active shooter incidents 01:51

The number of active shooter incidents in the U.S. rose by 52.5% from 2020 to 2021, and over four years, from 2017 to 2021, there was a 96.8% increase, the FBI said in a report published Monday. The bureau noted that the data over those four years shows "an upward trend." 

In 2021, the FBI designated a total of 61 shootings in 30 states as "active shooter incidents," resulting in 103 people killed and 140 wounded, excluding the gunmen.

Last year saw the highest number of deaths as a result of active shootings – 103 total – since 2017, a whopping 171% increase from 2020.

The FBI defines an active shooter as "one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area." The definition implies the use of a firearm, and the "active" descriptor refers to the "ongoing nature of an incident, and thus the potential for the response to affect the outcome." In comparison, a mass killing is defined as "three or more killings in a single incident."

Twelve of the 61 active shooter incidents also met the criteria for mass killings.

Last year saw 61 active shooter incidents carried out by 61 distinct shooters – 60 male, 1 female. Shooters ranged in age from 12 to 67 years old. Fourteen were killed by law enforcement, while four shooters were killed by armed citizens. One shooter died in a car accident during pursuit by law enforcement and 11 shooters died by suicide. In total, 30 gunmen were apprehended by law enforcement, while one shooter remains at large. Just two of the 61 gunmen wore body armor during the incident.

Of these incidents, six occurred in California. Five incidents each occurred in Georgia and Texas, while four each occurred in Colorado and Florida. 

FBI spotted a "roving active shooters" trend emerging in 2021, whereby shooters targeted their victims in multiple locations, throughout the course of one or more days.  

The FBI released its "Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2021" report Monday afternoon.

The FBI's report does not include gun-related incidents classified as gang violence, drug violence, self defense, domestic disputes, hostage situations, crossfire related to another criminal act or "an action that appeared not to have put other people in peril."

In a statement, the FBI said it "remains steadfast in its efforts to train private citizens, as it is imperative that citizens understand the risks faced and the resources available in an active shooter situation."

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