Preliminary statistics released today by the FBI show that 27 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2013, a decrease of more than 44 percent when compared to the 49 officers killed in 2012. By region, 15 officers died as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, six officers in the West, four officers in the Midwest, and two in the Northeast.
By circumstance, seven officers were killed as a result of ambushes (four during unprovoked attacks and three due to entrapment/premeditated situations). Five officers died from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls (three of which were domestic disturbances), and five officers were engaged in tactical situations. Three officers sustained fatal injuries while they were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, three were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, and three officers were responding to robberies in progress or pursuing robbery suspects. One officer was killed as a result of an investigative activity.
Offenders used firearms in 26 of the 27 felonious deaths. These included 19 incidents with handguns, five incidents with rifles, and two incidents with shotguns. One victim officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.
Nineteen of the slain officers were confirmed to be wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Six of the officers fired their own weapons, and three officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Two victim officers had their weapons stolen; one officer was killed with his own weapon.
The 27 victim officers died from injuries sustained in 26 separate incidents. Twenty-five of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
An additional 49 officers were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2013. This total is one more than the 48 officers who were accidentally killed in 2012. By region, 31 officers died due to accidents in the South, nine in the West, five in the Northeast, and four in the Midwest.
Twenty-three of the officers died as a result of automobile accidents, nine were struck by vehicles, and four officers were in motorcycle accidents. Four of the officers were killed due to falls, and two from accidental shootings, two from drowning, and two died as a result of a training exercise. One officer died due to electrocution and one from smoke inhalation. One was killed in an aircraft accident.
Of the 23 officers who died due to automobile accidents, 14 officers were not wearing seatbelts; three of these officers were seated in parked vehicles at the times of the incidents. Eight of the victim officers were wearing seatbelts, and seatbelt use was not reported for one of the officers who was killed due to an automobile accident. That incident was still under investigation at the time of this release.
Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2013, which will be published on the FBI’s website in the fall.