Have shootings in Marion County increased?

File photo: Handguns on display at the ED Croskey Center on Jan. 29. [Jennifer Hunt Murty/Ocala Gazette]

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Posted February 28, 2024 | By Jennifer Hunt Murty

After hearing concerns from readers that there has been an uptick in shootings locally, the “Gazette” went to work to determine if perception is reality.

The go-to sources for this information are state and national agencies that compile this data, but there is always a significant lag time between when these incidents occur and when the agencies report them. This has led the “Gazette’’ to develop a methodology to paint a clearer picture relying on local agencies.

Since there are multiple law enforcement agencies in Marion County, the newspaper reached out to Marion County Fire Rescue because that department provides ambulance service to all of the law enforcement jurisdictions throughout the county.

The “Gazette” asked MCFR how many calls for service involved firearms during the years 2022 and 2023.

MCFR call records 2022 2023
“Accidental” shootings 18 15
Attempted suicide/suicide  (resulted in a gunshot wound) 20 17
Shooting 57 41
Shots heard/Fired (shooting occurred with no injury) 19 18

(either stabbings, bb gunshots where the injuries were not severe, or calls that were related to firearms but turned out to be unsubstantiated threats)

49 46
Total 163 137

If you count only how many people were injured, according to MCFR that number totaled 95 in 2022 and 73 in 2023. Although many of the injured were transported to area hospitals, some of those wounded by a firearm died at the scene of the incident. Presumably, those deceased persons would be included in MCFR’s call data.

While the data received from MCFR does not conclusively answer whether injuries by firearm are up or down than what they have been historically, it seems there could be a slight reduction in 2023 over 2022.

What is clear based on information collected by the Florida Department of Health, however, is that Marion County has struggled with a higher rate of firearm injuries and deaths than the state average.

There has been a marked increase in those metrics since 2015, according to DOH data, but it now seems to be on the decline.

Marion County fatalities from firearm discharges

Note: This includes all deaths from firearms discharge, regardless of intent. Includes both homicides and suicides. Data is sourced from: Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics

Nonfatal firearm injuries 

Note: These statistics include hospitalizations with firearm injury where the patient was alive when discharged. The data was sourced from Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) which our local hospitals report to on a regular basis.


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