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November 21, 2005
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Guns, traffic accidents claimed most officer lives in 2004

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON- The FBI reported Monday that 139 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2004, with guns and traffic accidents claiming the most lives.

Of the total, which is seven deaths more than in 2003, 54 were shot to death and 48 were killed in traffic accidents. Thirty-one of those killed with guns were wearing body armor.

There were nine more shooting deaths in 2004 than the previous year.

Authorities solved all but one of the cases in 2004 of officers who were shot to death or otherwise intentionally killed. Thirty-nine suspects were arrested, 11 were killed by police and eight committed suicide, according to the FBI.

Thirty-nine of the 57 officers killed intentionally were on vehicle patrols. Ten were slain while investigating disturbance calls, and 12 were ambushed.

Twenty-seven of the intentional killings and 39 of the 82 accidental deaths took place in the South, by far the deadliest region.

In all cases, the average age of the officer killed was 39 and average level of police experience was 12 years for those killed intentionally and 11 years for those killed accidentally.

Besides the officer deaths, more than 59,000 officers were assaulted in 2004 while performing official duties, with more than 16,000 suffering injuries. Eighty percent of these attacks involved hands, fists and feet.

The report was culled from information submitted by more than 10,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.


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