LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) — Mass shootings have occurred more and more frequently over recent years, and the FBI has a specific definition for what qualifies as a mass shooting.

“We take our definition from the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act, which is a federal statute, and it defines a mass shooting as three or more people killed in a public place,” said Ryan Kennedy, Supervisory Special Agent and Public Affairs specialist for the FBI’s Little Rock office.

The Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act was written in 2012 and became law on Jan. 14, 2013.

The FBI commonly refers to mass shootings as active shooter incidents, which is defined as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Mass killings, three or more people killed, occur within active shooter incidents.

The FBI does not factor the shooter’s death into the number of casualties in an active shooter situation.

There were 27 active shooter incidents in 2018. The shootings occurred across 16 states and 85 people were killed (excluding the shooters) and 128 people were wounded, FBI’s 2018 Active Shooter Incidents in the United States report.

The active shooter incident with the highest number of casualties in 2018 was the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that resulted in 17 people killed and 17 people wounded.

The incident with the second highest number of casualties in 2018 occurred at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Twelve people were killed and 16 people were wounded.

The active shooter incidents in 2018 break down as follows:

  • Sixteen incidents occurred in commerce areas, resulting in 41 people killed and 61 people wounded.
  • Five incidents occurred in educational facilities, including four high schools and one middle school, resulting in 29 people killed and 52 people wounded.
  • Two incidents occurred in open space locations, resulting in no one killed but three people wounded.
  • Two incidents occurred in health care facilities, four people killed and two people wounded.
  • One incident occurred on government property, resulting in no one killed, but four people wounded.
  • One incident occurred in a house of worship, resulting in 11 people killed and six people wounded.
  • Twenty-three shooters were male, three were female and the gender of one shooter is unknown.
  • The shooters ranged in age from 13 years old to 64 years old, with five in their teens, seven in their 20s, seven in their 30s, three in their 40s, two in their 50s, two in their 60s and one unknown.

There were 50 active shooter incidents between 2016 and 2017. Twenty incidents occurred in 2016, and 30 incidents occurred in 2017. Those 50 incidents occurred across 21 states. Twenty met the “mass killing” definition, 221 people were killed (excluding the shooters) and 722 people were wounded, according to the FBI’s 2016-2017 Active Shooter Incidents in the United States report.

The highest number of casualties since 2000 occurred in 2017. The FBI defines casualties as a combination of people killed and people wounded. There were 729 casualties in 2017. The highest number of casualties occurred during Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nev., in which 58 people were killed and 489 people were wounded.

At most there were 26 active shooter incidents in a single year (2010) prior to 2016. Click here for a by-the-year look at the number of active shooter incidents and casualties between 2000 and 2015.