More than 60 law enforcement officers died in firearms-related incidents in 2016, marking a 68 percent increase since 2015, National police Memorial Fund reported.
The organization found that Texas has seen the most accidents this year with 18. So far, more than 130 officers have died in the entire country.
The worst single attack was in July, when a black veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas — the deadliest day for U.s. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten days later, an ex-Marine, killed three Baton Rouge, La., police officers.
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE OFFICER DIES AFTER SHOOTING
San Antonio Detective Benjamin Marconi was the 60th officer shot and killed this year, compared with 41 in all of 2015, and the 20th to die in an ambush-style attack, in comparison with eight last year, Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National police Memorial Fund, said.
An ambush-style attack does not mean necessarily that someone on the lurk for the police; it is a recording designed to catch the police off guard and put them at a disadvantage, Floyd said.
“There is usually an element of surprise and the healing involved,” he said, and it is casual.
Police are killed during the writing of reports, such as Marconi, or eating in restaurants. They have responded to 911 calls, only to have people shoot them when they are out of their cars. And in the Dallas shooting, he was attacked by someone in a building.
“In all cases, the officers were being killed before they had contact with the defendant or placed the defendant in danger,” said Nick Breul, the Memorial Fund, director of the public safety and welfare.
This year is the targeted killings are the most since 1995, Floyd said. In fact, Marconi was the fourth targeted killing of an officer this month: On Nov. 2, two Iowa officers were killed in separate but related attacks. And on Nov. 10, a Pennsylvania officer was targeted as he responded to a domestic disturbance.
The attacks on the police in Dallas and Baton Rouge came amid protests over the shooting of black men by white officers, and were carried out by black men — but the race is not always a motivating factor, Floyd said.
In fact, he said, white men are responsible for most of the police massacre, and the majority of the people shot by police are white.
Some agents are killed by people who identify with the so-called sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe that they are immune from most state and federal laws, including paying taxes and getting driver’s licences. Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, had submitted documents last year to declare itself sovereign.
The man who shot and killed the two Iowa officers earlier this month as they sat in their patrol cars had a history of contacts with the police, including a recent confrontation with the officers on a high school football game.
Others are mentally ill.
“So much dialogue is centered around race relations, but there is a hatred in this country now that is run away from the hand,” Floyd said. “There is a lack of respect for the government in general, and the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in America is patrolling the streets in marked cars.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report