CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials say the number of homicides in the state this year fell back to average after a disturbing spike was reported last year.

The Wyoming Department of Health says so far this year 21 homicides were reported in the state, compared with 43 from the previous year.

The Associated Press reports this year's figure falls just below Wyoming's average of 24.5 homicides per year since 2005, when the health department began compiling comprehensive statistics. Since then, the numbers have fluctuated relatively drastically, from 16 in 2010 to the peak in 2011.

Casper Police Lt. Mike Thompson says there's no single factor driving the murders.

He adds "it's not like in some cities, where you have gang homicide issues. Ours are far more random."

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