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FBI Releases the Report Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2000

Washington, D.C. November 26, 2001
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2000

Statistics released today by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program reveal that 51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2000. The UCR Program’s annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2000, shows that 9 more officers were slain in 2000 than in 1999, an increase of 21.4 percent. The 51 officers killed reflect a 16.4-percent decrease from the number of officers murdered in 1996 and a 28.2-percent decline from the number of officers slain in 1991.

Firearms were the weapons used most often in the murders of the Nation’s law enforcement officers in 2000 and were employed in 47 of the 51 officer deaths. Handguns, one of which was the victim officer’s own service weapon, were used in 33 of the murders. Rifles were used in 10 of the felonious killings, and shotguns were employed in 4 officer slayings. Twenty-nine of the 47 officers slain with firearms were wearing body armor when they were killed.

Data pertaining to the circumstances surrounding these 51 felonious killings reveal that 13 officers were killed while conducting traffic stops/pursuits in 2000. Another 12 victims were slain during arrest situations: 5 officers were trying to apprehend suspects in crimes, 3 were investigating drug-related situations, 2 were attempting to arrest robbery suspects, and 2 officers were attempting to apprehend burglary suspects. Ten officers were murdered in ambush situations, 8 were killed while responding to disturbance calls, and 6 officers were murdered while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances. Two victims were killed while handling or transporting prisoners.

Twenty-seven of the 51 slain law enforcement officers were employed by city police departments, 21 by county police and sheriff’s offices, and 3 by state agencies. No federal officers were feloniously killed in 2000.

The average age of the 51 victim officers slain in 2000 was 38. Fifty of the officers who lost their lives were male, and 1 was female. Thirty-nine of the victim officers were white, and 11 were black. Race information was not reported for 1 of the victims.

A regional breakdown of the 2000 data reveals that 32 officers were murdered in the Southern region of the United States, 13 in the Midwestern region, 4 in the Western region, and 2 in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. No officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in the Northeastern region in 2000.

Sixty-five suspects were identified in connection with the 51 line-of-duty officer deaths during the year. Of these suspects, 51 have been arrested by law enforcement agencies. Nine of the suspects were justifiably killed–6 by persons other than the victim officers, and 3 were justifiably killed by the victim officers. Five assailants committed suicide after murdering the victim officers.

In addition to the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers, 84 officers were accidentally killed in 2000 while performing official duties, an increase of 19 deaths compared to the 65 accidental deaths reported in 1999. Automobile, motorcycle, and aircraft accidents claimed the lives of 55 of the 84 officers. Fourteen officers were accidentally struck by vehicles, 12 were killed in other types of accidents (drowning, training accidents, etc.), and 3 were the victims of accidental shootings.

Data reported by 8,653 law enforcement agencies covering more than 71.0 percent of the total population of the United States show that a total of 56,054 line-of-duty assaults were committed against law enforcement officers in 2000. Of those assaults, 81.7 percent were committed with personal weapons such as hands, fist, feet, etc., and 29.3 percent of these incidents resulted in injury. Firearms were used in 3.0 percent of the assaults, and injuries resulted in 12.3 percent of these incidents. Knives or cutting instruments were used in 1.8 percent of assaults with 17.1 percent of the victim officers sustaining injuries. Other dangerous weapons were used in 13.5 percent of the assaults on law enforcement officers, and 27.9 percent of these officers were injured.

The complete annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2000, is available on the FBI’s Internet site.