Police firearms deaths in 2013 lowest since 1887 in U.S.

Dec. 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Only 33 U.S. police officers have been killed by firearms in 2013, the lowest number since 1887, a police group said Tuesday.

Overall, 111 police officers died from job-related causes, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said in a preliminary report. This was the lowest number of fatalities since 1959, when 110 officers died.

The leading cause of death was traffic fatalities, with 46 deaths, down from 48 last year. Thirty-five of those deaths involved vehicle crashes, including four motorcycle crashes, and 11 officers were struck and killed while they were on foot.

Firearms fatalities were down from 49 in 2012. Seven of the officers were killed in ambushes and 58 percent were killed by handguns.

In 1887, 27 police officers were killed by gunfire.

In 2013, 32 officers died from other causes, up from 24 last year. Heart attacks and other illnesses linked to job stress were responsible for 18 deaths, up from eight in 2012.

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