FBI report reveals what most active shooter situations have in common

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FBI report reveals what most active shooter situations have in common

A new report by the FBI documenting where “active shooter incidents” happened in the U.S. in 2023 reveals that open spaces – which include roads, neighborhoods, parks and outdoor venues – are the places where victims are most likely to be targeted. 

Federal investigators say there were 48 active shooter incidents in total last year across 26 states, resulting in 105 deaths and 139 injuries. 

California – which has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country – led the way with eight incidents, followed by Texas and Washington state, each with four. 

The FBI says it defines an active shooter as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

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A mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, in October last year was the deadliest in the U.S. in 2023. (Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office)

Twenty-eight of last year’s incidents happened in open spaces, followed by 14 in commerce settings – which include retail stores and entertainment venues – three in education, two in health care and one in residential, the report says. 

The deadliest shooting unfolded on Oct. 25, when 18 people were killed by a gunman at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine, before he was found dead two days later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  

Of the 49 shooters involved in 2023’s incidents, all of them were males except one who identified as both female and transgender, according to the FBI. 

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The perpetrators were between the ages of 17 and 72 years old, and 43 handguns were used in the attacks, followed by 16 rifles and one shotgun. 

The FBI says the release of the report Monday is to “provide an overview of active shooter incidents to help law enforcement, other first responders, and the public better understand the levels of threats associated with active shooter incidents.” 

California mass shooting Monterey Park

Investigators are seen outside the Star Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, following a mass shooting there. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)

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“In 2023, the FBI designated 48 shootings as active shooter incidents. Although incidents decreased by 4% from 2022 (50 incidents), the number of active shooter incidents increased 60% since 2019 (30 incidents),” it also said. “The FBI designated 229 active shooter incidents from 2019–2023. This represents an 89% increase in active shooter incidents (121) from the previous five-year period (2014–2018).” 

Fox News’ David Spunt contributed to this report.

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