FBI Sees Spike|in Mass Shootings

     (CN) – Mass shootings like those that occurred in Aurora, Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech are on the rise, the FBI said today, putting the count of “active-shooter incidents” at 16 a year.
     That’s up from an average of 6.4 incidents annually between 2000 and 2006, according a detailed study that the agency released Wednesday of how 160 such deadly events have played out over the last 13 years.
     The study defines the phenomenon as “individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas.” Acts of known drug- and gang-related violence do not qualify.
     Investigators said that the 160 active-shooter events between 2000 and 2013 have killed 486 people and wounded 557. About 40 percent, or 64, of the incidents also met the agency’s definition of a “mass killing,” which is one where three or more people are killed.
     All but two of the shooters acted alone, and all but six of them were male, the FBI said.
     The incidents occurred in 40 states and the District of Columbia, but the FBI lists the 2012 shooting at the Cinemark Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colo., which claimed 12 lives and wounded 58, as having the “highest casualty count” of the 160.
     The 2007 Virginia Tech shootings came in second with 32 killed and 17 wounded, and the 2009 Fort Hood incident killed 13 and wounded 32. The incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., claimed 27 lives and wounded two people.
     Nearly half of the incidents ended with the shooter committing suicide, but 21 of the incidents ended when “unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter,” according to the report, which applauds such “selfless and deeply personal choices to face the danger of an active shooter.”
     “In those instances, the citizens safely and successfully disrupted the shootings,” the report states. “In 11 of those 21 incidents, unarmed principals, teachers, other school staff and students confronted the shooters to end the threat. In 10 incidents, citizens, working or shopping when the shootings began, successfully restrained shooters until police could arrive. And in 6 other incidents, armed off-duty police officers, citizens, and security guards risked their lives to successfully end the threat.”
     The report says such actions “likely saved the lives of students and others present.”
     One of the shooters was killed by an off-duty police officer at the scene, and one was killed “at the scene by a citizen with a valid firearms permit,” the study notes.
     Law enforcement shot it out with the perpetrator in 45 of the 160 incidents, resulting in the deaths of nine officers. Most of the incidents, about 60 percent, ended before the police arrived on the scene, according to the study.
     The shooter fled the scene in some 25 incidents, and at least five shooters “were still at large at the time the study results were released” on Wednesday, the agency said.
     Nearly half of the 160 incidents occurred in an “environment related to commerce,” while some 24 percent occurred at schools, which “involved some of the highest casualty numbers,” according to the report.
     The study found that 16 of the incidents happened on government property, including five on military property.
     Special Agent Katherine Schweit, head of the FBI’s Active Shooter Initiative, said in statement that 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.”
     The FBI’s behavioral analysis experts “will now delve deeper into why these shooters did what they did in an effort to help strengthen prevention efforts around the country,” the agency said.

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