Deadly shootings and ambush attacks contributed to a five-year high in law-enforcement fatalities in the United States in 2016, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.
There were 135 officers killed on the job this year, and gun-related incidents were the leading cause of death, a report released on Thursday indicates. Ambush attacks on officers took place in 21 of the 64 total shooting fatalities, which the memorial fund notes is “the highest total in more than two decades.”
One of the most high-profile ambush attacks occurred in Dallas, Texas, in July when five police officers were fatally shot. According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the gunman told negotiators that “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers” and had been disturbed by “recent police shootings.” The ambush followed peaceful protests of fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, both of whom were black men. Three police officers were later killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in an another ambush in July.
Texas, California, Louisiana, Georgia, and Michigan were the five deadliest states for law-enforcement agents, according to the report, based on the total number of officer fatalities in each state.