The Texas elementary school shooting that resulted in 21 deaths Tuesday came a day after the FBI announced that there had been an upward trend in such incidents in the past five years.

The bureau announced Monday that there were 61 active shooter incidents in 2021, when citizens stopped six such assailants, with four being killed in the process.

The number of 2021 active shooter incidents represented a 52.5% increase from 2020 and a 96.8% increase from 2017, the FBI said in its report.

The FBI released its report a day before a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people by use of a firearm in a populated area.

The “active” aspect implies the ongoing nature of an incident, and thus the potential for the response to affect the outcome. A mass killing is defined as three or more killings in a single incident. 

The 61 shootings last year – carried out by 60 males and one female – resulted in 103 killed and 140 wounded, excluding the shooters.

The FBI also said it has observed an emerging trend: roving active shooters who shoot in multiple locations, either in one day or in various locations over several days. 

Casualty counts (243) from such incidents were higher in 2021 than the previous year (164) and the third highest count during the last five years.

Last year included the highest number of deaths (103) since 2017, a 171.1% increase from 2020 and above the average (92.3) for the past five years.

There was an 11.1% increase in people wounded (140) in 2021 compared with 2020 (126), but below the average (253) for the period 2017–2020. 

Other numbers with 2021 active shooter incidents:

  • Shooters’ age range was 12 to 67.
  • Two shooters wore body armor.
  • 30 shooters were apprehended by law enforcement.
  • 14 shooters were killed by law enforcement.
  • Four shooters killed by armed citizens.
  • One shooter was killed in a vehicle accident during a law enforcement pursuit.
  • 11 shooters committed suicide.
  • One shooter remains at large. 

The FBI said it remained dedicated to training its international law enforcement partners, and in training private citizens, “as it is imperative that citizens understand the risks faced and the resources available in an active shooter situation.”

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