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Armed man tries to breach FBI office in Cincinnati, killed after standoff

The suspect was identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, of Columbus, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

CLINTON COUNTY, Ohio — Authorities say the armed man wearing body armor who tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati Thursday has died after being shot by law enforcement following an hourslong standoff.

The suspect was identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, of Columbus, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Shiffer is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and may have been present at the Capitol on the day of the attack, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

He was not charged with any crimes in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, the official said. Federal investigators are examining whether Shiffer may have had ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, the official said.

According to the FBI, Shiffer attempted to breach the FBI visitor screening facility just after 9 a.m. He fled after an alarm was triggered and he was confronted by agents.

Troopers located Shiffer's vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, near the northbound Interstate 71 rest area in Warren County around 9:37 a.m.

Once troopers got behind his vehicle, Shiffer fled and a pursuit ensued. While behind the vehicle, a suspected gunshot was fired from inside the vehicle.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the pursuit continued on I-71 until the suspect exited at state Route 73, traveling eastbound before turning onto Smith Road.

Shiffer's vehicle came to a stop around 9:53 a.m. on Smith Road near Van Trees Road in Clinton County. He then exited the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with authorities.

Law enforcement said they were able to ‘contain’ Shiffer and attempted to negotiate turning himself into authorities.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said those attempts were unsuccessful and authorities attempted to move in and take the suspect into custody.

Authorities then attempted using “less than lethal” tactics but were still unsuccessful.

Shiffer then raised his weapon and law enforcement opened fire, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Portions of Interstate 71 and state Route 73 were closed for several hours but are now reopened. Portions of Smith Road will remain closed.

The confrontation at the FBI's Cincinnati field office comes as officials warn of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.

Federal officials have also been tracking an array of other concerning chatter on Gab and other platforms threatening violence against federal agents. FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced the threats as he visited another FBI office in Nebraska on Wednesday.

“Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with,” Wray said Wednesday in Omaha.

The FBI on Wednesday also warned its agents to avoid protesters and ensure their security key cards are “not visible outside FBI space,” citing an increase in social media threats to bureau personnel and facilities. It also warned agents to be aware of their surroundings and potential protesters.

The warning did not specifically mention this week’s search of Mar-a-Lago but attributed the online threats to “recent media reporting on FBI investigative activity.

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