CHARACTERISTICS OF ACTIVE SHOOTER INCIDENTS, 2000–2012
Locations 40% occurred in offices, stores, and industrial sites
29% occurred in schools and colleges
Shooting 51% were still in progress on arrival of police
Engagement of shooter 43% of attackers continuing fire on officer arrival were fired upon by officers
Wounding of police 15% of officers engaging a shooter in exchange of fire were shot
Source: Blair JP, Martaindale MH, Nichols T. Active shooter events from 2000 to 2012. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. January
2014. Available at: http://leb.fbi.gov/2014/january. Accessed June 22, 2015.
Note: N = 110. In a 2000–2013 study (N = 160), less than 2 percent of incidents involved more than one shooter.
Blair JP, Schweit K W. A Study of Active Shooter Incidents, 2000–2013. Texas State University and Federal Bureau of
Investigation. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC. 2014. Available at: www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/september/
and-2013. Accessed June 22, 2015.
events occurred per year. Since 2009, that figure has
increased threefold. 10 A recent study by the Texas
State University (TSU), San Marcos, conducted in
concert with the Department of Justice, was based
on police reports, public records, and media reports
for 2000–2012.11 The increased frequency of incidents seen in this study is not explained by changes
in case definition or solely on the basis of increased
case reporting. Characteristics of active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2012 are presented in the table
on this page.
The TSU study also observed that most active
shooter incidents ( 40 percent) occurred in offices,
stores, and industrial locations. Schools and colleges were the next most common locations for these
events, at 29 percent. The assailant moved between
multiple locations in almost one-fifth of incidents and
had no apparent connection to the shooting location
almost half of the time. Shooting was still in progress
on arrival of the first responding officers half of the
time. This initial response was often by one or two
officers. Officers responding to shooting in progress
engaged the shooter in 43 percent of cases. If the
officer engaged the shooter, that officer was shot 15
percent of the time. All 110 incidents in the TSU study
involved one attacker. In a study of 160 incidents, 98
percent involved a single shooter. 12 In both studies
the median number of victims was five.
Similarly, the effect of improvised explosive device
(IED) attacks in the U.S. is not fully appreciated. The
Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 is rightly remembered as a signal tragedy, but the number of injuries
received by victims of IEDs from criminal behavior
is not widely recognized. In the period from 1983 to
2002 there were more than 36,000 explosive incidents,
1. McDowell K. Remembering the UT tower shooting 46 years
later. Available at: http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/08/
June 22, 2015.
2. Shepard C. The injured at Columbine High School. Available
at: www.acolumbinesite.com/victim/injured.html. Accessed
June 22, 2015.
3. The Office of the President. Training first responders and
school officials on active shooter situations. Available at:
shooter_situations.pdf. Accessed June 22, 2015.
4. Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice. Active
shooter response training. Available at: www.bja.gov/
ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=106. Accessed June 22,
5. Schweit KW. Addressing the problem of the active shooter.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. May 2013. Available at: https://
shooter. Accessed June 22, 2015.
6. Federal Bureau of Investigation Office of Partner
Engagement. ALERRT/other training initiatives. Available
Accessed June 22, 2015.
7. Eastman A. Trauma kits help police control severe bleeding.
Washington Post. January 26, 2015. Available at: www.
8ade-11e4– 8ff4-fb93129c9c8b_story.html. Accessed June 12,
8. U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA. Fire/Emergency Medical
Services Department Operational Considerations and Guide for
Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents. September 2013.
Available at: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/
publications/active_shooter_guide.pdf. Accessed June 30,
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