In a study looking at 20 years of active shooter incidents in this country, the FBI found California had more incidents than any other state. The report comes out just a few days after a man opened fire at a Northern California rail yard, killing nine coworkers and then himself.
The agency looked at data from 333 incidents between 2000 and 2019. In those incidents, a total of 2,851 people died or were wounded, excluding the shooters.
The FBI defines “active shooter incident” as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area” using “one or more firearms,” in a situation that is ongoing in nature with the potential for the “response to affect the outcome.”
Of the 345 shooters involved in the incidents, the FBI says 119 took their own life and 150 were arrested by police; other outcomes include the shooter(s) being killed by police, killed by a citizen or not arrested at this time.
About 29% of the incidents happened at businesses that are open to pedestrian traffic; this includes places like retail stores or strip malls, office buildings, restaurants, etc. About 15% of the incidents happened in open spaces and 13% happened at a K-12 school.
California had 42 active shooter incidents during the 20 years the FBI studied. While California has the highest population in the country, with 39.5 million in the 2020 census, the next populous state, Texas, with over 29.1 million people, had only 25 active shooter incidents.
Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Wyoming did not have any incidents between 2000 and 2019 that met the FBI’s definition of active shooter incident.
The report doesn’t look into the motives or reasons for the shootings, rather, it charts where these incidents happened and how they ended.