Download Full Text (10.7 MB)


The Washington Post publishes and regularly updates a dataset regarding the use of deadly force by police since 2015. This study extracts data for five Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), and presents a regional perspective on the total number of individuals shot and killed by police, including demographic variables such as race, gender, and age. Two additional variables are included in this examination: the presence or absence of mental illness in the decedent, and the presence or absence of a body-worn camera in incidents of deadly police force. Collected from January 1, 2015, to March 17, 2021, these data are exclusive to deaths resulting from a police officer shooting an individual while on-duty. In-custody deaths, non-shooting deaths, and deaths occurring while an officer is off-duty are not included. Between 2015 and March 17, 2021, 808 individuals were shot and killed by police in the Mountain West. Within the region, New Mexico ranks first for police shootings per million people, followed by Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. In all five Mountain West states, a majority (more than 95%) of individuals shot and killed by police were male, and a majority (70%) of decedents were between the ages of 18 and 44. Most fatal encounters did not involve the presence of mental illness in the decedent, nor the use of a body-worn camera on the part of the police.

Publication Date

Spring 2021




Police shootings; Officer-involved deaths; Fatal encounters; Mountain West


Public Health

File Format


File Size

17457 KB


Faculty Mentor: Caitlin J. Saladino, Ph.D.

Police Shootings in the Mountain West, 2015 - 2021

Included in

Public Health Commons