The Washington Post has compiled a list of 511 police officers who have been killed by guns from 2000 to 2010. Information is available on shooting deaths at traffic stops (91), ambushes (43), arrests (29), domestic disturbances (75), serving papers (40), responding to a call (55), an investigation (44), and off duty (24). Information is also obtained on whether the gun was legal (107), purchased on the black market (41), straw purchase (16), stolen (77), previously used in a crime (3), department-issued (51), or borrowed (46). The type of gun used and the suspects age. Only in 5 of the cases was the suspect still at large. 200 of the shooters were 21 to 29 and 111 were under 21.
More than 200 of the shooters were felons who were prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms. Many had spent time in prison for illegal handgun possession. At least 45 were on probation or parole when they killed an officer. At least four were previously convicted of murder or manslaughter, including a Texas man who had done time for two separate slayings and was on parole at the time he killed his third victim: a 40-year-old sheriff’s deputy with a wife and three children.
While the Washington Post makes a big deal about 107 guns being legally obtained, at least 22 legal guns and three of the borrowed guns were used in suicides (we suspect that all the guns used in suicides by police were legally obtained).