FBI Study of "Active Shooter" Incidents

Last Updated: October 29, 2014

This article appeared in the October 2014 Rural Policy Matters.

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A recent FBI report examines 160 “active shooter” incidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2013. The report, “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013,” shows an escalating trend line. There were 6.4 incidents on average in the first seven years covered by the report and 16.4 incidents on average in the last seven. Nearly five hundred people (486) were killed and 557 people injured in the incidents.

The report found that 45.6% of incidents occurred in areas of commerce; 24.4% in educational environments (16.9% in preK–12 schools or district/board offices and 7.4% in post-secondary institutions). The remaining incidents occurred in open spaces, government properties, residences, houses of worship, and health care facilities.

Most incidents ended when the shooter committed suicide. Other ways in which incidents ended include, in decreasing order of frequency, the shooter: was apprehended by law enforcement, fled and was later apprehended, was killed by law enforcement, fled and was not apprehended. One shooter was killed by an off-duty police officer, and one was killed by a citizen with a permit to carry a firearm.

The report found that 57 people, including 43 students, were killed in preK–12 schools. Another 60 were wounded. Fourteen of these incidents occurred in classrooms or hallways; three occurred in the cafeteria; two in administrative offices; two in school board meeting rooms; two in school when class was not in session; and four outside of the school building.

In twelve of the fourteen incidents that occurred in a high school setting, a student was the shooter; five of the six middle school incidents involved a student shooter.

In ten school incidents, the shooter was apprehended at the scene—seven after being restrained by school employees. Three ended in suicide, and one shooter fled and then committed suicide.

Information in the FBI report and its conclusions closely match those of the Rural School report, Violence in U.S. K–12 Schools, 1974–2013, which was released in March of 2013.

Read more:

FBI study of active shooter incidents:

Blair, J. Pete, and Schweit, Katherine W. (2014). A Study of Active Shooter Incidents, 2000–2013. Texas State University and Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C. 2014.


Rural Trust report: Violence in U.S. K–12 Schools, 1974–2013:



Read more from the October 2014 Rural Policy Matters.