Active Shooter Facts

A comprehensive resource of active shooter and mass shooting facts and statistics.

Active shooter and mass shooting incidents have become more common in the United States in recent years, with some perpetrators openly expressing their intent to inflict large numbers of casualties. This resource provides a comprehensive overview of active shooter and mass shooting facts and statistics, as well as guidance on how to respond if such an incident occurs.

Active Shooter and Mass Shooting Facts

Active shooter incidents can occur anywhere and at any time, knowing some key active shooter facts and statistics will help you better prepare and could potentially save your life.

Active Shooter Frequency

  • Studies indicate that the rate at which public mass active shooter incidents occur has tripled since 2011.
  • In 2017 there was a total of 30 active shooter incidents in the United States.
  • Between 1982 and 2011, a mass active shooter incident occurred roughly once every 200 days.
  • Between 2011 and 2014 that rate has accelerated greatly with at least one mass shooting occurring every 64 days in the United States.
  • Although the number of public mass shootings has increased substantially, there has been an approximately 50% decrease in firearm homicides in the nation overall since 1993.

Source: Rate of Mass Shootings

Active Shooter Casualties Per Year

  • From 2000 to 2017 the total number of active shooter casualties was 2,217.
  • 2000 had the least number of casualties that resulted from active shooter incidents with a total of 7 casualties.
  • 2017 had the highest number of casualties that resulted from active shooter incidents with a total of 729 casualties.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Deadliest Active Shooter Incidents in United States History

The following active shooter incidents are the deadliest to have occurred in modern U.S. history (1949 to present). If the shooter was killed or died by suicide during the incident, that death is not included in the total.

  • October 1, 2017 - 58 killed, 500+ injured
    Mandalay Bay Shooting (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • June 12, 2016 - 49 killed, 50 injured
    Pluse Nightclub Shooting (Orlando, Florida)
  • April 16, 2007 - 32 killed, 32+ injured*
    Virginia Tech Shooting (Blacksburg, Virginia)
  • December 14, 2012 - 27 killed, 27+ injured*
    Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting (Newtown, Connecticut)
  • November 5, 2017 - 26 killed, 20 injured
    Sutherland Springs Church Shooting (Sutherland Springs, Texas)
  • October 16, 1991 - 23 killed, 27 injured
    Luby's Massacre (Killeen, Texas)
  • July 18, 1984 - 21 killed, 19 injured
    San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre (San Diego, California)
  • August 1, 1966 - 18 killed, 31 injured
    University of Texas Tower Shooting (Austin, Texas)
  • February 14, 2018 - 17 killed, 17 injured
    Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting (Parkland, Florida)
  • December 2, 2015 - 14 killed, 24 injured
    2015 San Bernardino Attack (San Bernardino, California)
  • August 20, 1986 - 14 killed, 6 injured
    Edmond Post Office Shooting (Edmond, Oklahoma)
  • November 5, 2009 - 13 + unborn child killed, 32 injured
    Fort Hood Shooting (Fort Hood, Texas)
  • April 3, 2009 - 13 killed, 4 injured
    Binghamton Shootings (Binghamton, New York)
  • April 20, 1999 - 13 killed, 24 injured
    Columbine High School Massacre (Columbine, Colorado)
  • February 18, 1983 - 13 killed, 1 injured
    Wah Mee Massacre (Seattle, Washington)

Source: Deadliest Shootings in Modern US History Fast Facts

Time of Day for Active Shooter Incidents

The graph below presents the times of day that active shooting events took place. The majority of active shootings took place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Although, as the graph shows, active shootings have occurred at all times of day.

Length of Active Shooter Incidents

At least 66.9% of all active shooter incidents ended before police arrived.

Of the incidents in which the duration was known:

  • 69.8% of active shooter incidents ended in 5 minutes or less.
  • 36.5% of active shooter incidents ended in 2 minutes or less.

Source Federal Bureau of Investigation

Frequently Targeted Locations

  • 42% of active shooter incidents occurred at a business.
  • 21% of active shooter incidents occurred at an educational institution.
  • 14% of active shooter incidents occurred in an open space.
  • 10% of active shooter incidents occurred at a government owned property.
  • 5% of active shooter incidents occurred at a home or residence.
  • 4% of active shooter incidents occurred at a church or place of worship.
  • 4% of active shooter incidents occurred at a hospital or health care facility.
  • 0.4% of active shooter incidents occurred at "other" locations.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2017

Type of Weapon Used in mass shootings

In most cases, the active shooter will use a firearm. In rare cases, the active shooter may use other weapons and/or even improved explosive devices that cause more injuries and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency responders. Some of the improvised explosive devices are homemade and may detonate immediately or may have delayed fuses. No attempt should be made to go near or handle these devices.

  • 56% of active shooters used a pistol.
  • 27% of active shooters used a rifle.
  • 14% of active shooters used a shotgun.
  • 3% of active shooters used an unknown firearm.

Source: Active Shooter Events by Weapon Type

Weapons Used in Mass Shootings

More than 1 out of every 3 active shooters used more than one weapon to cause destruction.

  • 38% of active shooters used more than one weapon.
  • 61% of active shooters used only one weapon.
  • 1% of active shooters used an unknown number of weapons.

Source: Characteristics of Active Shootings

How Active Shooter Incidents End

An active shooter incident will typically end in one of four ways:

  1. The shooter commits suicide.
  2. The shooter and law enforcement engage in a firefight.
  3. Unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter.
  4. Armed citizens exchange gunfire and take out the threat.

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About the Author

Alex Oliver
Customer Success

Alex Oliver is the Customer Success Manager at Apex Officer