Gunman killed after trying to break into FBI field office in Cincinnati

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A gunman wearing a body armor attempted to break into the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati on Thursday, sparking an hours-long standoff that ended when he was shot after shooting officers, the authorities said. authorities.

The man attempted to enter the visitor control center at 9:15 a.m., the FBI said in a statement, setting off an alarm and prompting a strong response from law enforcement. He fled in a white Ford Crown Victoria on Interstate 71, leading officers in pursuit and firing in their direction, State Highway Patrol Lt. Nathan Dennis said.

The vehicle eventually came to a stop on a stretch of rural road, where Dennis said the man exchanged gunfire with authorities. He said they tried to negotiate with the man but he refused to cooperate. Shortly before 3 p.m., officers shot him after he raised a gun at police, Dennis said.

State and federal officials declined to identify the man or describe a potential motive. However, a law enforcement source told The Washington Post that the man’s name was Ricky Shiffer. According to another law enforcement official with knowledge of the probe, officers are investigating Shiffer’s possible ties to extremist groups, including the Proud Boys – a far-right group whose leaders are accused of helping to launch the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. .

Shiffer’s name is used on multiple social media platforms by someone who spoke about being on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Authorities declined to say whether Shiffer is connected to those accounts.

On the Truth Social platform, which was started by former President Donald Trump, an account named Shiffer had a post at 9:30 a.m. Thursday that appeared to indicate he was writing after trying to enter the FBI building.

“Well, I thought I had a way through the bulletproof glass, and I didn’t,” he wrote. “If you haven’t heard from me, it’s true that I tried to attack the FBI, and that will either mean I was taken off the internet, or the FBI got me, or that they sent the regular cops.”

Truth Social didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but Shiffer’s profile appears to have been taken down Thursday night.

The confrontation comes days after the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s estate in Florida. Since the raid, threats of violence against the FBI from Trump supporters online have increased and Republicans have stepped up criticism of the agency.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has compared the government to “the Gestapo,” and the New York Young Republican Club has called for the arrests of those involved in the raid. Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted “DEFUND THE FBI!!” She added an image of an upside-down American flag, which many on the right have adopted as a symbol of the nation in distress.

In a written statement Thursday as news of the Cincinnati incident unfolded, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned of violence and threats directed at law enforcement, and against baseless attacks on the FBI that undermine the rule of law.

“Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be of deep concern to all Americans,” he said.

Residents and businesses within a one-mile radius of the scene of Thursday’s standoff were asked to lock doors and stay vigilant, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency. TV pictures showed a man crouched behind a car amid vast green fields as law enforcement gathered from a distance.

Earlier in the week, the individual using the name Shiffer on Truth Social posted that he was issuing a “call to arms” hours after the Mar-a-Lago search became public. He encouraged others to “get everything you need to be ready for battle.”

“This time we must respond with force,” he wrote.

In May, a Twitter user named Ricky Shiffer said he was present at the Capitol on January 6 and suggested the attack was carried out by left-wing radicals in a comment responding to a photo showing rioters scaling the walls.

“I was there,” the user posted. “We saw your henchmen do this.”

In a separate reply that day, the user approvingly referenced the Proud Boys, several of whose leaders face charges in the Capitol riot, in response to a Supreme Court comment. No one named Ricky Shiffer has been charged in the January 6 attack.

“Oh, the wrapper. The wrapper could be here. Save some ammo, contact the Proud Boys and learn how they did it in the Revolutionary War, because submitting to tyranny while protesting legally didn’t never been the american way.LEXINGTON,” the user wrote.

During Thursday incident, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, while announcing that the Justice Department had filed a motion to unseal Mar-a-Lago’s search warrant, called the continued threats against federal agents and prosecutors unfair. .

“The men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice are dedicated and patriotic public servants,” he said. “Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their security while protecting our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.

Denise W. Whigham