WASHINGTON — The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty continues to climb according to statistics released by the FBI.

The agency released it’s latest report Monday, categorizing how 129 law enforcement officers died on the job in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2021. The report also shows how and where the officers died.

It includes the death of Independence, Missouri, Officer Blaize Madrid-Evans. The 22-year-old died Sept. 15, 2021. A fugitive shot Madrid-Evans as he and two other officers arrived at a home to investigate a tip.

According to the report, 73 officers died during, or as the result of, a crime. The FBI said 61 of the officers were killed with a gun.

Losing 44 officers in 2021, the South experienced the most officers killed. The West faced the deaths of 12 officers, a dozen officers died in the Midwest, and four officers were killed in Puerto Rico last year.

Of the 66 suspects accused of killing officers, 20 had been arrested before, and nine suspects were under supervision or parole at the time of the crime.

The FBI said the average age of an officer who died in 2021 was 39 years old. The overwhelming majority were white men. Five victims were women and 9 officers who lost their lives were Black, according to data from the agency.

The report showed another eight officers were ambushed and killed, or fatally injured. Another eight officers died while they were involved in pursuits.

Just one officer died while investigating a wanted person.

Another 56 law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while on the job in 2021. The highest number of deaths were attributed to car crashes.

The 5-year and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 27 felonious deaths when compared with the 2017 data when 46-officers died, and an increase of 24 deaths when compared with 2012 data when 49 officers died in the line of duty.

The entire report is available online on the FBI’s website.

The FBI plans to release additional data about law enforcement officers who were assaulted in the line of duty later this year.

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