The number of police officers killed by firearms spiked by 56 percent in 2014.
In 2013, five officers were killed in ambush shootings compared to 15 in 2014.
According to an annual report released by the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund, 50 officers were killed by firearms in 2014, up from 32 in 2013.
Ambush attacks also jumped, tripling from last year. In 2013, five officers were killed in ambush shootings compared to 15 in 2014.
The group’s chief executive, Craig Floyd, said he is “deeply concerned” by this increase, pointing to growing anti-government sentiment as a fuel for “weak-minded” individuals to carry out similar attacks.
“Enough is enough. We need to tone down the rhetoric and rally in support of law enforcement and against lawlessness,” Floyd said in a press release.
In total, 126 officers were killed in 2014. Overall, that’s a 24 percent increase from 2013 when 102 officers were killed.
“These troubling statistics underscore the very real dangers that America’s brave law enforcement officers face every time they put on their uniforms,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Each loss is both tragic and unacceptable—a beloved father, mother, son or daughter who never came home to their loved ones.”
Holder said the Justice Department is currently analyzing officer fatalities and will continue efforts to provide equipment and training for law enforcement officers to “mitigate” future attacks.
While firearm fatalities have spiked in recent years, they are far lower than the peak in 1973 where 156 cops were shot and killed. The fatalities in 2014 were also 12 percent lower than the decade-long average of 57 per year between 2000 and 2009.