A newly released FBI report reveals that armed and unarmed citizens stopped eight active shooter incidents over the past two years.
Active Shooter Stats & Definition
The FBI’s report classifies 50 shootings in 2016 and 2017 as active shooter incidents. 20 of the shootings took place in 2016, while 30 occurred in 2017. In all, 221 were killed and 722 were wounded, excluding the shooters. The shooters were all male and ranged from ages 14 to 66.
The FBI defines an active shooter is “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area … the active aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation.”
Citizens Fight Back
In eight of those 50 active shooter incidents, a citizen successfully stopped the shooter. Four out of those eight incidents involved unarmed citizens “confrontingor persuading” the shooter to stop, the FBI writes. Two of those four incidents also involved school staff confronting and restraining the shooter. In addition, a citizen used his car to “thwart” the shooter in a third incident. In the fourth incident, an unarmed citizen spoke with the the shooter on the telephone and convinced the person to surrender during a police chase. The citizen then ran up to the shooter’s car as it came to a stop and pulled him out of his seat, ending the chase.
Furthermore, in the other four incidents, citizens with valid firearms permits stopped the active shooter. Furthermore, in two of those incidents—the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Schlenker Automotive in Florida—the citizens opened fire on the suspect. The other two incidents—Townville Elementary School in South Carolina and Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tenn.—involved a citizen holding the shooter at gunpoint until police arrived.
The FBI said these armed and unarmed citizens’ “selfless actions likely saved many lives.”
“The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike,” the report adds.