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Officers dying in line of duty during a felony down 18% in 2022: FBI

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(WASHINGTON) — Officer Dan Rocha of the Everett, Washington Police Department responded to a call for a suspect moving guns from one car to another, according to body camera footage released by the Everett Police Department.

Rocha approaches the suspect and, after a few brief minutes of conversation, tells him to wait until his partner gets to the scene. A struggle ensues, and the suspect shoots and kills Rocha and then flees the scene.

Police caught the suspect two miles down the road, and he was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Rocha was a four-year veteran of the police force.

“Officer Dan Rocha was dedicated to keeping Everett safe,” Rep. Rick Larsen, D- Wash., said in a statement last year. “On the day he passed, he was doing the job he loved – serving and protecting his community. I know the women and men of the Everett Police Department will continue to carry on Officer Rocha’s legacy by upholding the Department’s commitment to service, integrity, professionalism and honor.”

Rocha was one of the 60 law enforcement officers that died in the line of duty during a felony in 2022, according to FBI statistics released this week.

That number, however, is down 18% from the previous year.

In total, there were 118 officers killed in the line of duty in 2022 – 60 were killed during a felony and 58 were killed accidentally, according to the FBI. 2021 saw one of the highest years for officer line-of-duty deaths with 73.

“The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of three felonious deaths when compared with the 2018 figure (57 officers) and an increase of 33 deaths when compared with 2013 data (27 officers),” the report said.

Of the 60 officers that died in 2022, 49 were killed with a gun. The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39. The officers had served in law enforcement for an average of seven years at the time of their deaths.

Ten of the identified suspects in the officers’ deaths had prior criminal arrests, and two were under judicial supervision at the time of the incidents, according to the FBI report.

At this point in 2023, 20 law enforcement officers have been fatally wounded and eight have died in accidents, federal data shows.

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