Texas ranked 2nd in nation for active shooters in 2023, FBI report reveals

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Monday, June 24, 2024
Texas ranked 2nd in US for active shooters in 2023, FBI report shows
New data reveals Texas ranked second only to California in the number of incidents and people killed. Experts spoke to ABC13 about where the numbers seem to be trending.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released statistics for active shooters in 2023, and the numbers are sobering, especially in Texas.

The report was written by the FBI and researchers at Texas State University. They define an active shooter as one more person engaged in trying to kill people in a populated area.

It found there were 48 incidents in 26 states in 2023, four of which were in Texas. Only California had more.

There were 244 people killed or injured in those shootings. Twenty-five of them were in Texas. Again, the Lone Star state finished second only to California.

Among those included in the report is the May 2023 mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas in which eight people were killed and seven others were wounded.

Chris Grollneck is a former law enforcement officer and an active shooter prevention expert who says prevention is the key to reducing an epidemic of violence.

"This is a problem that's getting exponentially worse every day," Grollnek said. "We can stop active shooters. We have a whole continuum that can stop them. You can do basically two or three things with technology, two or three things physically, there's no fear. There's simply preparation. We need to start having a broader conversation and then accepting the options. And those options are behavioral threat assessments. Some type of technology for artificial intelligence was a very hot topic right now for gun detection."

The report found that active shooters were most likely to open fire in open spaces or places of business. While the number of incidents dropped between 2022 and 2023, the trend is not as promising.

In the five years between 2019 and 2023, there was a sharp 89% increase in the number of active shooters, which the FBI defines as a person or people intent on killing people in a public place.

Special Agent Steve Lupo is an active shooter coordinator for the Houston Field Office. He did not participate in the writing of the report but told ABC13 the keys to changing the number of incidents and and outcomes are twofold.

"The big takeaway is that not much has changed," Lupo said. "Prevention and preparation. We need to prepare for an active shooter event by having a plan ahead of time in case something happens in the place that we go. And prevention is extremely important because with moth active shooters, it is not a surprise. 'See Something, Say Something' has been a very effective campaign."

Nicole Golden is the executive director of Texas Gun Sense, which does much of its work at the state Capitol, trying to urge legislators to enact laws that would not only potentially impact active shootings but other gun violence as well.

"We continue to have a problem that needs to be solved," Golden said. "We also, at the same time, have to put measures into place that reduce interpersonal gun violence, community violence, domestic violence, and all those other contributors that impact people on a daily basis."

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