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GunsActive shooters caused nearly 750 casualties in 2017

By Daniel Nass and Sean Campbell

Published 16 May 2018

More Americans were killed or wounded by active shooters in 2017 than in any year since the Federal Bureau of Investigation began keeping track. All told, nearly 750 people were shot in 30 incidents, according to a newly released FBI report. The shooters were of different ages, from different places, and motivated by different grievances. But all were men, and all acted alone.

More Americans were killed or wounded by active shooters in 2017 than in any year since the Federal Bureau of Investigation began keeping track.

All told, nearly 750 people were shot in 30 incidents, according to a newly released FBI report. The shooters were of different ages, from different places, and motivated by different grievances. But all were men, and all acted alone.

Casualties jumped dramatically from 2016 to 2017, though the entirety of that increase can be attributed to the Las Vegas strip massacre, which alone had more than 500 victims. Even subtracting the toll of that one event, 2017 was among the deadliest years on record.

Between 2010 and 2016, an average of 127 Americans were shot in active shootings each year, setting the United States apart from the rest of the world.

“The U.S. is off the charts,” said Frederic Lemieux, a criminologist with Georgetown University who has been researching mass shootings from a global perspective since 2012. “In sheer number, nothing reaches what the U.S. has in victims and number of incidents.”

The FBI defines active shooters as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” This definition encompasses shootings that happen in schools, workplaces, and other public spaces. A shooting can be categorized as an active shooter incident even if no one is killed or wounded.

Accidental shootings, suicides, and drug- and gang-related gun violence are excluded from the FBI’s methodology, which was developed with researchers from Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center. The center partnered with the FBI to produce the report, using data collected from police department reports, FBI resources, and media articles. Some active shooting incidents may have gone unrecorded in the early 2000s, researchers said, but they captured most of them.