FBI Report: 2021 Active Shooter Incidents

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released their seventh annual report in a series of active shooter-related products published since September 2014. In Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2021,  FBI data reports 61 active shooter incidents in the United States for 2021, a 52.5% increase from 2020 and a 96.8% increase from 2017.

In these 61 incidents, 103 people were killed and 140 wounded, excluding the shooters. Data for 2021 shows the highest number of deaths since 2017, a 171.1% increase from 2020 and above the average (92.3) for the period 2017–2020.

The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Implicit in this definition is the shooter’s use of a firearm. The active aspect of the definition inherently implies the ongoing nature of an incident, and thus the potential for the response to affect the outcome, whereas a mass killing is defined as three or more killings in a single incident.

The report offers graphs and maps that illustrate the shooters’ demographics, the locations targeted, and the outcomes of the incident. According to the FBI, “these reports are not intended to explore all facets of active shooter incidents but rather intended to provide law enforcement officers, other first responders, corporations, educators, and the public with a baseline understanding of active shooter incidents.” Additionally, the annual report highlights FBI support for the “Don’t Name Them” campaign. This campaign encourages media, law enforcement, and public information officers to shift their focus from the perpetrators of active shooter incidents toward the victims, survivors, and heroes who stopped them, as well as the communities that come together to help in the healing process. To learn more, please visit dontnamethem.org.

For access to past reports in this series as well as to other materials related to this subject, please visit the FBI’s webpage on Active Shooter Resources.

For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the  HSDL In Focus on Active ShootersDomestic (U.S.) Terrorism, and Lone Wolf Terrorism.

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