The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has seen a spike in officer-involved shootings, saying situations that police respond to are more likely to turn violent, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We've seen an unprecedented amount of suspects shoot at our officers this year,” Las Vegas police Sgt. John Sheahan said. Most shootings started as a routine call that escalated quickly after their officers arrived. The most notable police shooting of this year, Jerad and Amanda Miller's June ambush that killed officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, occurred while the two officers were taking their lunch break at a pizza restaurant.
So far, 28 police officers have been killed by firearms in the U.S. this year, a 65 percent rise over the 17 last year, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The numbers don't necessarily reflect a national trend. “These things happen, and sometimes they happen in clusters,” said David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a former Los Angeles police officer. Last year was a historically low year for officer shooting deaths, with 31 nationally. Eventually, the numbers are “going to bump back up,” Klinger said. “The numbers are still far lower than they were in the 1970s,”. Nearly 140 officers died by gunfire each year in the early part of that decade.