Ten police officers have been killed in premeditated ambushes so far this year, the same as the last two years combined, according to FBI statistics, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police assassins have included a ragtag smattering of white survivalists, black militants, people who identify with the antigovernment “sovereign citizen” movement, hard-core criminals who have clashed with law enforcement for much their lives, and a variety of suicidal people who wanted to depart with notoriety.
In both of the most recent ambush attacks against police — in Dallas, where five officers were stalked and killed and nine others were injured in July, and 10 days later in Baton Rouge, where six officers were shot, three of them fatally — the killer was African American. Although most police shooters are white males, black men have been responsible for nearly 40 percent of the 232 ambush killings of police officers since 2002, said a U.S. Department of Justice study last year. Most ambush attacks on police are launched by gunmen acting alone. Despite the rising numbers, police officers are still far more likely to be killed during traffic stops and pursuits, serving search warrants, responding to calls and investigating suspicious activity. “Premeditated ambushes are extremely rare events,” said George Fachner, a Justice Department researcher who co-wrote the study.