Mass shootings like the ones that have occurred in recent years in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., have tripled in recent years, according to a study set to be published next week for the FBI.
Researchers looked at active shootings in public settings where the primary motive appeared to be mass murder and at least one victim was unrelated to the shooter, according to Yahoo News, which obtained the report.
The study, to be published next week in the "FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin," a training publication for those in the criminal justice profession, was written by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University.
The prevalence of such events went from about one every other month between 2000 and 2008 — five per year — to more than one a month between 2009 and 2012 — almost 16 per year, the study says.
Researchers looked at 110 active shooter attacks, and found that they occur most often at businesses (40 percent) and schools (29 percent). Ninety-four percent of the shooters are male.
Yahoo also reports that in the wake of the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook in December 2012, more and more local police departments are looking for active-shooter training courses from the federal government to deal with the situations more quickly. A past practice had been for police to contain the scene and wait for more specialized officers to get on the scene.
Almost half of the active shootings are over before additional help can arrive, the study said, and potential victims actually stopped the attacker in 17 such cases.
“This tells us that citizens and bystanders have a very real and active role in stopping these events,” Terry Nichols, a former police officer and an assistance director at ALERRT, told Yahoo News. “If we can properly prepare and educate civilians, maybe we can get to where 90 percent are stopped by civilians long before the police arrive.”
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