An analysis of 2014 and 2015 active shooter incidents has identified 20 incidents in each of the years; information provided to advance available research and assist federal, state, local, tribal, and campus law enforcement officers, other first responders, corporate leaders, and educators in their efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to active shooter incidents.
This annual tally is an increase from 17 in the year 2013, which was the last year of a 14-year study released by the FBI. 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 firearms when engaging in criminal activity.
The “active” aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation. The consistency of these incidents supports the paramount need for training and exercises for law enforcement, other first responders, and citizens alike.
Thousands of first responders have undertaken active shooter training in recent years and, though anecdotal, open source reporting suggests its positive impact. For example, a law enforcement officer was driving home from active shooter training when he responded to “shots fired.” In another incident, law enforcement executives acknowledged the major role active shooter training exercises played in their response. Responding officers in a third incident noted their active shooter training influenced their actions. According to the incident commander in yet another incident, the interagency response went exactly as it did in training, even though the shooter committed suicide before responding officers arrived at the scene. He opined the life of a severely injured man was saved due to training.
The methodology to identify incidents is the same as articulated in A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013. To ensure consistency, shootings that resulted primarily from gang or drug violence and gun-related incidents that appeared not to have put other people in peril (e.g., the accidental discharge of a firearm in a bar) were not included in this analysis. Analysts relied on official law enforcement investigative reports, when available, FBI holdings, and publicly available resources.
The FBI remains dedicated to assisting state, local, tribal, and campus law enforcement in developing enhanced prevention, response, and recovery practices for active shooter incidents.