FBI: 61 'active shooter incidents' reported in 2021, 52% jump from 2020

Armed police officers are seen outside broken windows at King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, after reports of a shooting on March 22, 2021. (Photo by Matthew Jonas/MediaNews Group/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images)

The number of U.S. active shooter incidents in 2021 jumped by 52.5% from the year prior, and between 2017 to 2021, there was a 96.8% increase, the FBI said in a report published this week

In 2021, there were a total of 61 active shooter incidents across 30 states, resulting in 103 people killed and 140 others wounded. The most occurred in the country's most populous state of California (6), followed by Georgia (5) and Texas (5). Four incidents each occurred in Colorado and Florida, the FBI said.

Among these shootings was one at an office building in Orange, California, and another at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

June had the highest number of active shooter incidents (12), followed by April (10) and August (7). Most incidents were reported on a Saturday, followed by a Tuesday or Thursday, the agency’s data shows. A majority (32) of the 2021 shootings happened in "areas of commerce." 

The FBI defines an "active shooter incident" as one or more individuals who "actively engage in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area." The definition implies the use of a firearm, and the "active" part of the term refers to the "ongoing nature of an incident, and thus the potential for the response to affect the outcome." 

Certain gun-related incidents are excluded from the data, including those that were the result of self-defense, gang or drug violence, domestic disputes, and hostage situations.

FBI: ‘Upward trend’ of US active shooter incidents

The FBI also noted in its report a concerning "upward trend" of active shooter incidents in the U.S. 

There were 31 active shooter incidents reported in 2017, followed by 30 in 2018, 30 in 2019, 40 in 2020 (the first year of the pandemic), and 61 in 2021. 

In 2021, the number of deaths reported as a result of active shootings (103 total) was a staggering 171% increase from 2020 (38).

A mass shooting earlier this month at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, left 10 people dead. Authorities said the alleged shooter purposely targeted a predominantly Black neighborhood. The incident left many channeling the same grief and anger of several other communities across the U.S. reeling from such tragedies.

"You expect us to keep doing this over and over and over again — over again, forgive and forget," the son of 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, one of the 10 people killed, told the Associated Press last week. 

This story was reported from Cincinnati.