An armed man tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office and was fatally shot after a standoff

Aug 12, 2022, 6:07 AM
In this image taken from FOX19 Cincinnati video, FBI officials gather outside the FBI building in C...
In this image taken from FOX19 Cincinnati video, FBI officials gather outside the FBI building in Cincinnati, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. An armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at the FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and exchanged gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said. (FOX19 Cincinnati via AP)
(FOX19 Cincinnati via AP)

(CNN) — An armed man suspected of trying to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office on Thursday was killed after an hours-long standoff with law enforcement, authorities say.

The suspect has been identified as Ricky Shiffer, according to three federal law enforcement sources. A separate federal law enforcement source told CNN the suspect was believed to be armed with a nail gun and an AR-15 rifle.

After attempting to enter the FBI facility, authorities say he fled and his vehicle was followed by state police. When the vehicle pursuit ended, there was a lengthy standoff that ended when the suspect was shot and killed by law enforcement, according to authorities.

The FBI said in a statement that it is investigating the circumstances that led to the suspect being shot.

While authorities have not announced a motive, the FBI is investigating the man’s social media presence and whether he had ties to right-wing extremism, one of the sources told CNN.

Here’s what we know about the attempted breach and the suspect.

What happened when the suspect tried to enter the office?

At about 9:15 a.m. ET, an armed man tried to breach the visitor screening facility at the FBI field office, the agency said.

“Upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI special agents, the subject fled northbound onto Interstate 71,” FBI Cincinnati said in a statement.

Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded and found the suspect at an interstate rest stop in a Ford Crown Victoria at around 9:37 a.m., the highway patrol said in a statement.

The troopers tried to initiate a traffic stop on the suspect, but he fled and a vehicle pursuit ensued, Lt. Nathan Dennis, a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said at a news conference. He said shots were fired from the suspect’s car during the chase.

The suspect got off the highway at state Route 73 and came to a stop around 9:53 a.m. on a road in Clinton County, the highway patrol said.

How did the standoff unfold?

After stopping, the man got out and “engaged officers,” the highway patrol said. Gunfire was exchanged between law enforcement and the suspect, who used his vehicle for cover, they said.

The suspect was wearing body armor, according to Facebook post from the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency. A lockdown was in effect within a 1-mile radius of the standoff location, the post said.

The standoff stretched for several hours as law enforcement unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with the suspect, the highway patrol said.

“Once negotiations failed, officers attempted to take the suspect into custody by utilizing less lethal tactics,” the agency said. “At approximately 3:42 p.m., the suspect raised a firearm and shots were fired by law enforcement officers.”

The suspect was shot and died from his injuries on the scene, the agency said.

It is unclear what less lethal tactics authorities used during their attempt to arrest him.

What do we know about the suspect?

The FBI is investigating Shiffer’s social media presence and whether he had ties to right-wing extremism, a federal law enforcement source told CNN.

Authorities are also looking into whether he participated in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol or was associated with any groups that took part in the attack, a separate federal law enforcement source tells CNN.

A social media account bearing the name of Ricky Shiffer posted on the social media platform founded by former President Donald Trump, Truth Social, appearing to reference his attempt to storm an FBI office.

The post about the FBI office attack was made minutes after the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the incident at the office in Cincinnati began, shortly after 9:15 a.m.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the user posted at 9:29 a.m. Thursday. “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.”

It’s unclear whether the user was attempting to write more, as the post stops after, “while.”

Authorities have not yet confirmed that the account belongs to the suspect. However, a law enforcement source did confirm to CNN that a photo on the account matched a government ID photo of the suspect.

The FBI declined to comment on the account and its postings, citing the ongoing investigation.

On the account, which has only been active the last few weeks, the user posted thoughts that were politically violent and revolution-minded. But it was not until the FBI executed a search warrant on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home that the user began to fixate on responding with violence toward the agency.

“People, this is it,” the user wrote on August 8, the day the FBI executed the warrant. “I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me.

In that post, the user encouraged people to go to gun and pawn shops to, “get whatever you need to be ready for combat.”

When another person responded to the user saying that they would be sending his photo and information to the FBI, the user responded by saying, “Bring them on.”

It’s unclear whether or not the information was in fact forwarded to the FBI.

On August 9, the user wrote that people were heading to gather in Palm Beach and said that if the FBI broke up the group, “kill them.”

The user of the account also claimed they were present in Washington, DC, on January 6, but did not say whether they entered the Capitol.

How has the FBI responded?

FBI headquarters is investigating the “agent-involved shooting,” the agency said in a statement. A law enforcement source told CNN the agency has deployed a Shooting Incident Review Team to the scene, which is standard practice when an FBI special agent or task force officer discharges a weapon.

The review team will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and ultimately determine whether the use of deadly force was justified, the source said.

“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” the bureau statement read. “The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray released a statement Thursday evening condemning attacks on law enforcement and the FBI.

“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others. Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans,” Wray said.

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An armed man tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office and was fatally shot after a standoff