The FBI tallied a record number of attacks by active shooters last year with a record-breaking death toll of 138, according to a bureau report.
There were 593 people wounded in 30 such shootings in 2017. The number of active shooter attacks was 50 percent higher than the previous year. There were 20 such crimes in 2016 that claimed the lives of 83 people.
It’s the first time an annual death toll in active shooting incidents exceeded 90 since the FBI began tracking the crimes in 2000. There was a single incident that year.
The FBI defines active shooters as gunmen actively killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. All of the shooters in 2016 and 2017 were males operating alone, according to the FBI. (There were three women among 42 active shooters In the FBI’s previous report, which covered 2014 and 2015.)
The ages of shooters in 2016 and 2017 ranged from 14 years to 66 years. Seven were in their teens, 18 were in their 20s, nine were in their 30s, nine were in their 40s, three were in their 50s, and four were in their 60s, according to the report.
The two largest active shooting incidents last year were the Las Vegas music festival killings in October that claimed 58 lives, and the First Baptist Church shootings in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November that killed 26.
The biggest attack in 2016 was the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49.
“Am I surprised by the increase? No,” former FBI Agent James Gagliano told USA Today. He speculated that the increase could be linked to accessibility to guns, copycat shooters tracking news programs, and even video games.
“Part of it is these individuals see one gunman on the news and think, ‘Wow, if they did this, I can do it, too,’” he said.
“It’s a vicious circle and for the most part after these incidents, nothing changes. We all retreat to our corners and bicker.”
Twenty-one states reported active shooter attacks in both 2016 and 2017. Over those two years six attacks happened in Texas, and five each occurred in California and Florida.
Over 2016 and 2017 seven attacks occurred in schools, three in government buildings and two in churches. One occurred in a mall. More than a dozen happened in a variety of open spaces, businesses and workplaces.
In the 50 incidents of both 2016 and 2017, 18 gunmen were arrested, 13 committed suicide, 11 were killed by police and eight were stopped by civilians (in four of those cases civilians were unarmed).