The FBI designated 28 shootings in 2019 as active shooter incidents.
The 28 active shooter incidents occurred in 16 states.
■ Six incidents occurred in Texas.
■ Five incidents occurred in California.
■ Three incidents occurred in Florida.
■ Two incidents occurred in Illinois.
■ One incident occurred in each of the following states: Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.
Increase in Active Shooter Incidents in 2017
The volume of active shooter incidents in the United States and the corresponding number of individuals killed and wounded in these incidents increased in 2017, furthering a trend in which the number of victims has grown each year since 2013. Active shooter incidents — which are attempts to kill people using firearms in populated areas — have occurred across all geographic regions with no identifiable patterns, according to FBI data from 2012 to 2017. The totals for 2017 are higher than each of the previous five years, but given that this data is preliminary because some shootings from 2017 remain under investigation, the final totals may be higher.
- On average, each active shooter displayed 4 to 5 concerning behaviors over time that were observable to others around the shooter. The most frequently occurring concerning behaviors were related to the active shooter’s mental health, problematic interpersonal interactions, and leakage of violent intent.
- In 2017, 29 active shooter incidents occurred in 15 states, which was an increase from 20 incidents in each of the previous years since 2014, according to FBI data. The October shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada-which resulted in 58 deaths and 489 injuries and the November shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas-which resulted in 26 deaths and 20 injuries-largely accounted for the rise in active shooting victims in 2017.
- Between 2012 and 2016, 150 firearms were recovered from the 98 active shooter incidents. The firearms included 92 handguns, 37 rifles, and 21 shotguns. Many of the shootings were premediated, with planning timelines varying from days to weeks or months, according to FBI data. Numbers for 2017 are not yet available.
- Males between the ages of 20 and 29 were responsible for most active shooter incidents between 2012 and 2017, according to FBI data; only three of the 130 shooters were female.
Planning and training tools
- Active Shooter Attacks: Security Awareness for Soft Targets and Crowded Places. This short (two page) DHS document focuses on how people should be alert to signs of trouble and what people should do in the event of an attack (run, hide, fight). It can be used as a handout for training.
- K-12 School Security: A Guide for Preventing and Protecting against Gun Violence (2nd ed., 2018) provides preventive and protective measures to address the threat of gun violence in schools. The Guide is delivered in two parts: the first portion is a PDF with general security best practices and considerations in narrative format; while the second portion is a Microsoft Excel-based security survey. Together, these documents outline action-oriented security practices and options for consideration based on the results of the individual school’s responses to the survey. While the primary audience for the Guide is the K-12 community, institutions of higher education or pre-K schools may also benefit from the information presented.
- Active shooter guidance for special needs populations. DHS CISA has a new active shooter preparedness resource. The Active Shooter Preparedness: Access and Functional Needs video provides information that organizations may incorporate into their emergency action plans to ensure that persons with access and functional needs are properly considered during an active shooter incident. This video was developed in coordination with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, FEMA Office of Disability and Integration, Society for Human Resource Management, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services / Office of Access and Functional Needs. It is currently available via the DHS YouTube website (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3-_z1Q1bFg&t=5s).
- NYPD Active Shooter:
- DHS Active Shooter Video: “Options for Consideration“
- Houston, TX Active Shooter Video: “Run, Hide, Fight“
- NY DHSES Video: 480 Seconds – Surviving an Active Shooter Incident
- Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department: Active Shooter School Safety Considerations. Some solid suggestions for schools developing and/or refining active shooter plans. See the suggestions on what should be included in a “crisis response box.”
- Best Practice Considerations for Schools in Active Shooter and Other Armed Assailant Drills, National Association of School Psychologists, 2014, was developed by school psychologists and resource officers to provide this guidance on armed assailant training. Download the Questions to Ask for Armed Assailant Drills Factsheet (2018)
- Those Terrible First Few Minutes:Revisiting Active-Shooter Protocols for Schools, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September 1, 2010, Michael E. Buerger, Ph.D., and Geoffrey E. Buerger, Ph.D. The authors address the interval between the first contact with an armed intruder and the arrival of help arguing that planning is both possible and critical.
- Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan Development Guide and Template, NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Security and emergency preparedness at work, at home and in the community is everyone’s responsibility. Response efforts require a coordinated approach that can best be achieved through prevention, protection, response and recovery efforts. Preparedness plans require a coordinated effort among management, workers and local emergency first responders. This guide offers assistance in determining the information needed for the development of a facility Active Shooter Emergency Action Plan. This should be part of a larger facility Continuity of Operations Plan.
Background and research
- A Study of Pre-attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2000 and 2013. FBI behaviorists believe that there is cause for hope because there is something that can be done. In the weeks and months before an attack, many active shooters engage in behaviors that may signal impending violence. While some of these behaviors are intentionally concealed, others are observable and — if recognized and reported — may lead to a disruption prior to an attack. Unfortunately, well-meaning bystanders (often friends and family members of the active shooter) may struggle to appropriately categorize the observed behavior as malevolent. They may even resist taking action to report for fear of erroneously labeling a friend or family member as a potential killer. Once reported to law enforcement, those in authority may also struggle to decide how best to assess and intervene, particularly if no crime has yet been committed.
- Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017, The FBI designated 50 shootings in 2016 and 2017 as active shooter incidents (20 incidents occurred in 2016, while 30 incidents occurred in 2017). All 50 FBI active shooter-designated incidents during the 2016-2017 time frame were single-shooter events, and all shooters were male. Casualty numbers were dramatically higher due to three incidents: the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada; the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; and the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. As in previous years, the shooters’ ages spanned decades: from 14 to 66. No active shooter incidents took place at institutions of higher education or on military property in 2016 or 2017.
- Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools. Office of Partner Engagement, FBI, 2016. High school students are ideal targets for recruitment by violent extremists seeking support for their radical ideologies, foreign fighter networks, or conducting acts of targeted violence within our borders. High schools must remain vigilant in educating their students about catalysts that drive violent extremism and the potential consequences of embracing extremist beliefs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aims to enhance preparedness through a ”whole community” approach by providing training, products, and resources to a broad range of stakeholders on issues such as active shooter awareness, incident response, and workplace violence. In many cases, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims by an active shooter, and these situations are by their very nature are unpredictable and evolve quickly. DHS offers free courses, materials, and workshops to better prepare you to deal with an active shooter situation and to raise awareness of behaviors that represent pre-incident indicators and characteristics of active shooters.
- Active Shooter: What Can You Do Course
- Active Shooter Webinar
- Active Shooter Workshop Series
- Active Shooter: How to Respond Resource Materials
- Options for Consideration Active Shooter Training Video
- U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Active Shooter Related Research
- Active Shooter Resources for Law Enforcement and Trainers: Request for Access to Joint Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Portal
Active Shooter: What You Can Do Course
DHS has developed an Independent Study Course titled Active Shooter: What You Can Do. This course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.
Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, employees and managers will be able to:
- Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials;
- Recognize potential workplace violence indicators;
- Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents; and
- Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
The online training is available here.
Active Shooter Webinar
A 90-minute Webinar can help the private and public sector understand the importance of developing an emergency response plan and the need to train employees on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter. The presentation describes the three types of active shooters–workplace/school, criminal, and ideological–and how their planning cycles and behaviors differ.
Active Shooter Workshop Series
Active Shooter workshops have already taken place in a number of U.S. cities and will continue to be held in a number of locations in the future. These scenario-based workshops feature facilitated discussions to engage private sector professionals and law enforcement representatives from Federal, State, and local agencies to learn how to prepare for, and respond to, an active shooter situation. Through the course of the exercise, participants evaluate current response concepts, plans, and capabilities for coordinated responses to active shooter incidents.
If you are interested in future workshops, please contact ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.
Active Shooter: How to Respond Resource Materials
DHS has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter. These products include a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card.
Issues covered in the active shooter materials include the following:
- Profile of an active shooter;
- Responding to an active shooter or other workplace violence situation;
- Training for an active shooter situation and creating an emergency action plan; and
- Tips for recognizing signs of potential workplace violence.
- Active Shooter Booklet
- Active Shooter Poster
- Active Shooter Poster (Spanish)
- Active Shooter Pocket Card
- Active Shooter Pocket Card (Spanish)
- Best Practice Considerations for Schools in Active Shooter and Other Armed Assailant Drills was developed by school psychologists and resource officers to provide this guidance on armed assailant training.
Options for Consideration Active Shooter Training Video
Options for Consideration demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with a active shooter scenario. The instructive video reviews the choices of evacuating, hiding, or, as an option of last resort, challenging the shooter. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene.