“In 2018, citizens risked their lives to safely and successfully end the shootings in five of the 27 active shooter incidents. They saved many lives.”
As in past years, citizens were faced with split-second, life-and-death decisions. In 2018, citizens risked their lives to safely and successfully end the shootings in five of the 27 active shooter incidents. They saved many lives. Given this reality, it is vital that citizens be afforded training so they understand the risks they face and the options they have available when active shooter incidents are unfolding.
The findings in this report are based on publicly available resources, FBI reporting and, when available, official law enforcement investigative data. Though limited in scope, this report was undertaken to provide clarity and data of value to federal, state, tribal, and campus law enforcement as well as other first responders, corporations, educators, and the general public as they seek to neutralize threats posed by active shooters and save lives during such incidents.
- 27 incidents in 16 states
- 213 casualties – excluding the shooters
- 85 killed
Citizen Engagement and Casualties
In five incidents, citizens confronted the shooter.
In three incidents, unarmed citizens confronted the shooter, thereby ending the shooting.
■ In one incident, a citizen wrestled the gun away from the shooter. The shooter fled the scene and was apprehended approximately 34 hours later at another location.
■ In one incident, citizens confronted the shooter (including one who was pistol-whipped by the shooter), allowing others to flee the scene. The shooter committed suicide at the scene before law enforcement arrived.
■ In one incident, a teacher wrestled the shooter to the ground and restrained him until law enforcement arrived and apprehended him.
■ In two incidents, armed citizens possessing valid firearms permits exchanged gunfire with the shooter.
■ In one incident, two citizens retrieved their guns from their respective vehicles, then shot and killed the shooter.
■ In one incident, a citizen armed with a gun confronted the shooter, but no gunfire was exchanged. A second citizen exchanged gunfire with the shooter, but neither was struck. The shooter fled the scene and was apprehended by law enforcement a short time later at another location.
Twenty-three shooters were male; three shooters were female; the gender of one shooter is unknown. Twenty-six shooters acted alone; one shooter may have acted alone.
The shooters ranged in age from 13 years to 64 years. Five shooters were in their teens, seven were in their 20s, seven were in their 30s, three were in their 40s, two were in their 50s, and two were in their 60s. The age of one shooter is unknown.
Eleven shooters were apprehended by law enforcement, six at the scene, and five at another location. Two of the 11 shooters initially fled the scene after being confronted by citizens, and one was restrained by a citizen.
Five shooters were killed. Four were killed by law enforcement at the scene, and one shooter was killed by citizens possessing valid firearms permits at the scene.
Ten shooters committed suicide: four at the scene before law enforcement arrived, three at the scene after law enforcement arrived, and three at another location. One of the shooters committed suicide after being confronted by citizens
- A good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun
- Civilians need to train for active shooter incidents
- Armed, trained civilians save lives
- Early intervention and prompt engagement with the active shooter saves lives
- Shooters may be male or female
- In 2018 the shooters ranged from age 13 to 64.