COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — From the Columbia mall shooting to the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, we’ve seen the devastation of active shooter incidents. A disturbing new study from the FBI shows the number of incidents is on the rise across the country.
Now law enforcement agencies are changing the way they respond.
Meghan McCorkell has details on the new study.
That study determined active shooter incidents are now occurring more than once a month in the United States.
From the horror of Sandy Hook, where 20 first graders and six staff members were gunned down, to the Washington Navy Yard, where a lone gunman killed 12 people in a shooting rampage.
“It was like, ‘Pow, pow, pow.’ And then for a few seconds it stopped. Then it was like, ‘Pow, pow, pow,'” one witness said.
And just this January inside the Columbia mall, two store employees died at the hands of a gunman.
“Everybody ducked to the ground. I heard more than ten shots,” another witness said.
Now a new FBI report says the number of active shooter incidents in the U.S. has more than doubled over the last seven years.
“There is no city in America that is exempt from this type of activity,” said Scott Hinkley, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.
The FBI focused on 160 active shooter incidents in which 486 people were killed. Another 558 were wounded. Hinkley says studying these shootings has changed the way law enforcement responds.
“We cannot stand on the outside perimeter as there is loss of life. We saw in Virginia Tech, we were losing nine students a minute. So we have to go in,” Hinkley said.
The active shooter training developed at the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office has become the model for training across the country. More than 3,500 officers have been trained since last February.
“We have to get to the threat and we have to eliminate it. That is our top priority,” said Hinkley.
A priority, as these kind of scenes become too familiar.
FBI officials say many times active shooter incidents end within minutes, before police ever arrive on the scene.
The new FBI study shows the majority of shootings are committed by male gunmen in a commercial environment.
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