As it relates to law enforcement, an active shooter situation is described as one in which a shooting is in progress and typical law enforcement protocols may be affected in terms of methods used for responding to the incident. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the active aspect of the term implies both law enforcement and bystanders have the potential to affect the outcome based on their responses.

The FBI released a study in 2016-2017 stating that upon arrival at the scene, law enforcement and an active shooter exchanged gunfire in 14 active shooter situations from 2016-2017. Nearly half of the shooter involved officer deaths in this study were due to being under fire in open spaces and having little training or knowledge of how to respond or protect themselves.

A new FBI study of 2016 and 2017 active shooter incidents was released. According to this two year study, there were 50 reported active shooter incidents throughout the time period. Of the 50 incidents, more than half (26) ended with law enforcement at the scene; 14 incidents ended in both gunfire exchange with law enforcement and the shooter, while 18 others resulted in the shooter being apprehended.

The FBI’s 2016 – 2017 study that revealed that out of the 50 active shooter situations (13) ended on the shooter’s initiative with the shooter committing suicide, ceasing to shoot or fleeing the scene. (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2017)

While these statistics are frightening and hard to comprehend, they show a strong trend toward improving the way law enforcement has been educated and better protected in responding to active shooter situations.

active shooter statistics infographic
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