A preliminary FBI count shows that 72 U.S. law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year, up 16 from 2010. Of last year’s felonious deaths, 19 officers were killed during ambushes (14 during unprovoked attacks and five due to entrapment/premeditation situations); five while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; 11 during traffic pursuits/stops; five of the fallen officers interrupted robberies in progress or were pursuing robbery suspects; and four died while responding to disturbance calls, including one domestic disturbance.
Offenders used firearms in 63 of the 72 felonious deaths; 50 officers were killed with handguns; seven with rifles; and six with shotguns. Criminals used vehicles to kill six officers; weapons such as hands, fists, and feet to kill two officers; and a knife or cutting instrument to kill one officer. In other deaths, 50 officers were killed in accidents, down 22 from 2010.