Fatal shootings of police officers skyrocketed in 2016

Attacks on police

Officer Tom Woods was making a routine traffic stop when a man popped out of the trunk, armed with a gun -- and Woods wrestled him to the ground. But Lewiston Police Chief Chris Ankeny says it could have ended badly.

“There have been a lot of events that have been happening with police agencies across the nation in the past few months that have been quite horrific and have shown a propensity of violence against police,” Ankeny says. 

Over the past week, six officers were attacked in Texas, Missouri, Florida, Idaho and Michigan. This year alone, 60 officers have been shot and killed --  including 20 in ambushes --  a 67 percent increase over last year.

The eighteenth ambush took place in Texas, where San Antonio detective Benjamin Marconi was shot in the head last Sunday.

Police respond after one of their fellow officers is ambushed.  CBS News

The reasons are unclear. While some were retribution for shootings of blacks by white officers, most suspects in these police shootings were white men.

Dallas lawmakers proposed a law making it a hate crime to target police after five officers were murdered in July

“It definitely tells people we’re not going to tolerate this simply because they’re wearing a uniform,” said Ray Hunt from the Houston Police Officer’s Union. 

On Wednesday night, hundreds marched through the streets of San Antonio in support of their slain men in blue. And on Monday, people gathered in chilly St. Louis to honor an officer shot in the head during an ambush.

People show their support for St. Louis police after an officer was shot in the head during an ambush.  CBS News

Chief Sam Dotson reassured his officers on Monday. 

“To my officers, I say it’s a dangerous job. Go out and do it, do it safely, go out in pairs, but know that the community has your back.”

That officer is expected to survive. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, this year has seen the most targeted attacks on police in over twenty years.