A man who allegedly attempted to break into the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati is dead after a lengthy standoff with law enforcement Thursday.
The suspect — identified by The New York Times and NBC News as Ricky Shiffer, who reportedly attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — allegedly attempted to breach the office’s screening facility at around 9:15 a.m. ET, the FBI said, and upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI agents, fled northbound on Interstate 71.
At 3:42 p.m. — after a car chase, an exchange of gunfire, and unsuccessful attempts by police to negotiate with the man and use less-than-lethal tactics — the suspect “did raise a firearm towards law enforcement, and shots were fired by law enforcement officers on the scene,” Nathan Dennis, a lieutenant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, told reporters at an evening news briefing. Dennis said the suspect’s identity remained unconfirmed.
“At that point, the suspect was deceased, he succumbed to his injuries at the scene,” Dennis said. “Everything remains under investigation at this time.”
Dennis said no law enforcement officers were injured Thursday.
NBC News reported that Shiffer was at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and The Times reported that investigators were probing apparent ties to extremist groups, including one — unnamed by the Times — that participated in the attack. The Times noted one video that appeared to show Shiffer at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. the night before the attack.
Truth Social User Posted About Killing Federal Agents
Travis View, a co-host of the QAnon Anonymous podcast, flagged that an account on Donald Trump’s Truth Social website shared Shiffer’s name and appeared to post about the attack a few minutes after it began — around the time the suspect would have been fleeing on the highway, according to police accounts.
“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the account wrote at 9:29 a.m. ET. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops while”
The last post was from the the Ricky Shiffer account on Truth Social is from this morning. It states:— Travis View (@travis_view) August 11, 2022
"If you don't hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it'll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops while" pic.twitter.com/K0XsRprmBL
The account had earlier reposted a meme showing Donald Trump saluting Marine One with the text, “RETRUTH TO IF YOU WANT PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP BACK IN OFFICE.”
The account, which appeared to be just a few days old, had otherwise posted obsessively about Monday’s FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, writing several times about killing federal agents.
“People, this is it,” the Truth Social user wrote on Aug. 9. “I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me.” When someone commented that day that the account’s information had been forwarded to the FBI, the account responded, “Bring them on.”
In another comment, the Truth user wrote, “Kill theF.B.I. on sight, and be ready to take down other active enemies of the people and those who try to prevent you from doing it.”
Shots Fired During Pursuit
On Thursday morning, after the suspect fled the field office, he was spotted by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, who attempted to initiate a traffic stop at 9:37 a.m., Dennis said at a midday briefing. A pursuit ensued and “the suspect vehicle did fire shots during that pursuit,” he said.
Dennis said the man went east on State Route 73, then turned north on Smith Road, coming to a stop near Interstate 71, in a rural area around 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati. More gunfire was exchanged between officers and the suspect, he said, but no officers were injured.
The Clinton County Emergency Management Agency said on Facebook that law enforcement had “traded shots” with a male suspect wearing body armor.
‘He Was Flying’
Rob Thompson, owner of Thompson Farms, told TPM he saw the chase go by his driveway sometime between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m.
“He was flying, he was moving good,” Thompson said of the driver. “A high rate of speed, for sure.”
Thompson said Shiffer’s car looked like a white Crown Victoria. There were around 30-40 law enforcement vehicles in the vicinity, he said.
Thompson said he’d heard reports of shots fired, but that he hadn’t heard any himself. Thompson believed the standoff was occurring on or near his property, but, he added, from where he was he couldn’t see any people, only SWAT vehicles.
At the time Thompson spoke to TPM, a few minutes after 2:00 p.m., he noted, “no cars or no people are moving, so I assume that he’s in that area and hasn’t moved.”
For much of the day, a lockdown was in effect for the one-mile radius at the intersection of Center and Smith roads in Chester Township, which is near the city of Wilmington. Sections of Interstate 71 were closed as a result of the incident, but later reopened. By 2:39 p.m., according to the emergency management agency, the suspect was “contained” but had not been taken into custody.
Armed Suspect Wore Body Armor
What precisely unfolded at the Cincinnati FBI office remains murky.
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian reported, citing two law enforcement officials, that the incident began after a man fired a nail gun at the field office, before brandishing an AR-15 style rifle.
This post has been updated.