Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 15, 2001

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 1999 (pdf)

Nationally, 42 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 1999, the lowest number in more than 35 years, according to the FBI. Statistics published in Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 1999, released today by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, indicate that 19 fewer officers were slain in 1999 than in 1998.

Twenty-three of the 42 slain law enforcement officers were employed by city police departments, 13 by county police and sheriff's offices, 5 by state agencies, and 1 by a federal agency.

Firearms were used in 41 of the 42 deaths. Handguns were the murder weapon in 25 of the killings by firearms, rifles in 11, and shotguns in 5. Of the officers killed with firearms, 27 were wearing body armor at the time of the incidents. Five officers were slain with their own service weapons.

By region, 20 officers were murdered in the South, 11 in the West, 6 in the Midwest, and 5 in the Northeast.

Twelve officers were killed during arrest situations: 6 were serving arrest warrants, 4 were trying to prevent robberies or apprehend robbery suspects, and 2 were investigating drug-related situations. Also, 8 officers were slain while enforcing traffic laws, 7 while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, 7 while answering disturbance calls (1 of which was a domestic disturbance call), 6 in ambush situations, and 2 while handling prisoners.

Forty-nine suspects have been identified in connection with the 42 deaths. Of these suspects, 39 have been arrested by law enforcement agencies, 5 were justifiably killed by people other than the victim officers, and 5 committed suicide after killing the officers.

Additionally, 65 officers were accidentally killed in 1999 while performing official duties, a decrease of 16 deaths when compared to the 81 accidental deaths in 1998. Automobile, motorcycle, and aircraft accidents claimed the lives of 51 of the 65 officers. Nine officers were accidentally struck by vehicles, 3 were accidentally shot, 1 was killed in a fall, and 1 was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident.

A total of 55,026 line-of-duty assaults were reported by 8,174 law enforcement agencies covering over 72 percent of the total population of the United States in 1999.

Of those line-of-duty assaults, 81.5 percent were committed with personal weapons such as hands, fists, feet, etc. and 30.5 percent of these incidents resulted in injury. Firearms were used in 3.2 percent of all assaults; injuries resulted in 15.7 percent of these incidents. Knives or cutting instruments were used in 1.8 percent of assaults with 22.1 percent of these victims sustaining injuries. Other dangerous weapons were used in 13.4 percent of the assaults on law enforcement officers, and 28.4 percent of these officers were injured.

The complete LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS KILLED AND ASSAULTED, 1999, is available on the FBI's Internet site at


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