Washington, D.C.—According to statistics reported to the FBI, 89 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2019. Of these, 48 officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 41 officers died in accidents. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks are included in Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019, released today.
The 48 felonious deaths occurred in 19 states and in Puerto Rico. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2019 was 8 less than the 56 officers who were feloniously killed in 2018. The 5- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 7 felonious deaths compared with the 2015 figure (41 officers) and a decrease of 7 deaths compared with 2010 data (55 officers).
Officer Profiles. The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 40 years old. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the times of the fatal incidents. Of the 48 officers:
- 45 were male.
- 3 were female.
- 40 were White.
- 7 were Black/African American.
- 1 was Asian.
Circumstances Encountered by Victim Officer Upon Arrival at Scene of Incident. Of the 48 officers feloniously killed:
- 15 died as a result of investigative or law enforcement activities.
- 6 were conducting traffic violation stops.
- 4 were performing investigative activities.
- 2 were drug-related matters.
- 2 were interacting with wanted persons.
- 1 was investigating suspicious person or circumstance.
- 9 were involved in tactical situations.
- 3 were barricaded/hostage situations.
- 3 were serving, or attempting to serve, search warrants.
- 2 were serving, or attempting to serve, arrest warrants.
- 1 was reported in the category titled “other tactical situation.”
- 5 were involved in unprovoked attacks.
- 4 were responding to crimes in progress.
- 2 were robberies.
- 1 was larceny-theft.
- 1 was reported in the category titled “other crime against property.”
- 3 were involved in arrest situations and were attempting to restrain/control/handcuff the offender(s) during the arrest situations.
- 3 were assisting other law enforcement officers.
- 2 with vehicular pursuits.
- 1 with foot pursuit.
- 3 were responding to disorders or disturbances.
- 2 were responding to disturbances (disorderly subjects, fights, etc.).
- 1 was responding to a domestic violence call.
- 3 were involved in vehicular pursuits.
- 2 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation).
- 1 was serving, or attempting to serve, a court order (eviction notice, subpoena, etc.).
Weapons. Offenders used firearms to kill 44 of the 48 victim officers. Four officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons. Of the 44 officers killed by firearms:
- 34 were slain with handguns.
- 7 with rifles.
- 1 with a shotgun.
- 2 with firearms in which the types of firearms were unknown or not reported.
Regions. Felonious deaths were reported in four U.S. regions and Puerto Rico.
- 27 officers were feloniously killed in the South.
- 9 in the Midwest.
- 9 in the West.
- 1 in the Northeast.
- 2 in Puerto Rico.
Suspects. Law enforcement agencies identified 49 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths.
- 36 of the assailants had prior criminal arrests.
- 12 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the times of the felonious incidents.
Forty-one law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2019, a decrease of 9 when compared with the 50 officers accidentally killed in 2018. The majority (19 officers) were killed in motor vehicle crashes.
Officer Profile. The average age of officers who were accidentally killed was 40 years old; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 11. Of the 41 officers accidentally killed:
- 38 were male.
- 3 were female.
- 39 were White.
- 2 were Black/African American.
Circumstances. The 41 officers accidentally killed died in a variety of scenarios:
- 19 died as a result of motor vehicle crashes.
- 18 while operating cars, SUVs, trucks, or vans.
- 1 while operating an ATV or a motorcycle.
- 16 were pedestrian officers struck by vehicles.
- 3 were killed in firearm-related incidents.
- 2 officers drowned.
- 1 officer was reported to have died in the category of an other type of duty-related accident when they were struck by a tire/wheel while assisting a motorist.
Use of seatbelts. Of the 18 officers killed in motor vehicle crashes while operating cars, SUVs, trucks, or vans, 9 were wearing seatbelts, and 6 were not. Data about seatbelt usage was not reported for 3 of the officers.
Regions. Accidental deaths were reported in four U.S. regions.
- 22 of the accidental deaths occurred in the South.
- 8 in the Midwest.
- 8 in the West.
- 3 in the Northeast.
In 2019, of the 56,034 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 30.7 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (30.4 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.3 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.8 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.9 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 15.1 percent of assaults.
These and other detailed assault data can be found in Tables 80-133.
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019, released in two installments
In an effort to provide a more timely release of data to the public, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019 was released in two installments. In May 2020, three sections were published, including data and statistics concerning officers feloniously and accidentally killed and statistics about federal officers killed and/or assaulted. The remaining portions of the publication were released in October 2020 and present data reported to the FBI concerning law enforcement officers assaulted in the line of duty in 2019. The fall release also includes detailed assault data containing statistics and narratives concerning a subset of assault incidents in which officers received injuries with firearms, knives, or other cutting instruments.
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019, is available exclusively on the FBI’s website at https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2019.