LOS ANGELES — The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nationwide jumped 31 percent in the first half of 2014, with California leading the nation with eight deaths, data show.
In the first half of the year, 67 officers died in the line of duty in the United States, compared with 51 in the same period in 2013, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Florida lost four officers.
The half-year total marks the first major increase in several years. For the entire year of 2013, there were 100 deaths — the lowest recorded number since World War II, according to data gathered by the memorial fund.
"We had seen significant declines in officer fatalities the last two years, so the spike in deaths this year is particularly alarming," said Craig Floyd, chairman and chief executive of the memorial.
Traffic accidents remain the leading cause of officer fatalities, accounting for 26 deaths so far. But the increase in firearms deaths, from 16 in the first half of 2013 to 25 so far this year, amounts to a 56 percent increase over 2013.
There were also 16 deaths due to job-related illnesses and other causes, the same as in 2013.
Nationally, of the 25 fallen officers who were shot, six were struck down investigating suspicious persons or situations and five were ambushed.