YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — As the 911 calls are released and more details are emerging about a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee this week, families, friends, lawmakers and police are grappling, once again, with a rising trend in this area of violence in the country.

According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, active shooter incidents have risen 52.2% between 2020 and 2021. The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more people actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area with the use of a firearm.

The upward trend continues going back to a 33% increase between 2019 and 2020. Numbers are even more alarming when you look at the 96.8% increase since 2017.

There were 61 active shooter incidents in 2021 in 30 states involving 243 casualties with 103 people killed and 140 wounded, excluding the shooter.

The highest casualties occurred with eight killed and seven wounded at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana; one killed and 14 wounded at the Kroger grocery store in Collierville, Tennessee. The incident with the most fatalities was the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado with 10 fatalities, followed by nine people killed at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Rail Yard in San Jose, California.

Inside those statistics are some nuances. For instance, in 2021, more active shooting incidents happened in June (12) and April (10) with December having the fewest (1). June had the highest incidents in 2020, too.

Saturdays and Tuesdays were the days most incidents happened in 2021, but active shooting incidents happened every day of the week. Most occurred between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Thirty states reported active shooter incidents in 2021. Six were in California, five each in Georgia and Texas, four in Colorado and Florida, three each in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee, two in Alamban, Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and South Carolina. One incident each occurred in Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The incident in Ohio was connected to shootings that happened Jan. 25, 2021, in Columbus. A 26-year-old man with a shotgun began shooting at several people throughout the area at several locations before leading police on a chase and crashing. The shooter was killed in the crash.

In 2017 there were 31 active shooter incidents, 30 in 2018, 30 in 2019, 40 in 2020 and 61 in 2022.

The casualties and deaths from those shootings are as follows:

  • 2017: 734 with 143 deaths
  • 2018: 225, with 86 deaths
  • 2019: 258, with 102 deaths
  • 2020: 164, with 38 deaths
  • 2021: 243, with 103 deaths

While total casualties declined, 2021 saw the highest number of deaths since 2017 and a 171.1% increase from 2020.

In 2021, there was an increase in incidents where citizen involvement impacted the engagement with an active shooter. In four incidents, citizens confronted the shooter ending the incident. In one, two people tackled the shooter. In another, a teacher disarmed a student. An armed citizen shot and killed a gunman who ambushed a police officer, and in another incident, an armed employee shot and killed a shooter.

The locations of the shootings in 2021 were across several spaces. Two were in educational settings (one at a middle school and the other at a high school), 32 were in places of commerce, 19 were in open spaces, three at homes, two were at churches and one was in a health care setting.

Looking at the shooters, the statistics show that of the 61 active shooter incidents, 60 were male and one female. The youngest was 12 years old and the oldest was 67, with most being between 25 and 34.

In 2021, 30 of the 61 active shooters were arrested, 19 were killed, 11 committed suicide and one is still at large. The gunman in Ohio was killed in a car crash and is counted in the 19 that were killed.

The FBI noted in their report an emerging trend involving active shooters, specifically shooters who shoot multiple locations either in one day or in various locations over several days. It says that training private citizens remains a priority because everyone has to understand the risks faced and the resources available in an active shooter situation.

The FBI provides several training resources for private citizens, including its Run Hide Fight training videos.

One statistic that is elusive is why? It’s something lawmakers have been tackling for decades. The nation’s mental health crisis and gun control are at the center of the debate.

President Joe Biden has promised to address both, targeting social media and mental health involving youth. His agenda focuses on social media across several platforms, creating more capacity for mental health treatment and access, creating the 988 crisis response line and investing in mental health research among other programs that expand or improve care for more people.

The president has also said more gun control is needed, including an Executive Order signed earlier this month with the goal of increasing the number of background checks conducted before buying a gun. He has also called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and repeal gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.

In the meantime, training continues across the nation and right here in the Valley to address an active shooter situation. Earlier this week, school resource officers and police departments in Western Pennsylvania were on alert following a threat that turned out to be a hoax, but law enforcement went through the motions they learned by performing numerous drills throughout the year just so they are prepared if anything like what happened in Nashville happens here.