An armed suspect who attempted to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati was shot and killed by police after fleeing into a nearby rural area and exchanging gunfire with officers, law enforcement said Thursday evening.
Lt. Nathan Dennis, a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said efforts to negotiate with the man throughout the afternoon were unsuccessful. No police officers were harmed, the official said.
The suspect was identified as Ricky Shiffer, 42, according to the law enforcement official.
The man is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot and may have been present at the U.S. Capitol on the day of the attack, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The connection to the Capitol attack was also reported by NBC News.
Shiffer was not charged with any crimes in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, the official speaking to AP said. Federal investigators are examining whether Shiffer may have had ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, the official said.
The confrontation came as officials warned 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.
The FBI said the individual tried to get past the visitor screening facility at the bureau’s Cincinnati field office at roughly 9:15 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Officials said the man was wearing body armor and was chased onto a highway, then had abandoned his car on nearby country roads bordered by woods and farm fields about 72 kilometers northeast of Cincinnati.
After police descended onto nearby Wilmington, Ohio, the local Clinton County Emergency Management Agency posted several updates on its Facebook page warning residents to stay inside and lock their doors, adding that shots had been fired.
The suspect was reported to have had “unknown injuries” as he was pursued by police.
Shiffer was shot after he raised a gun toward police at around 3 p.m. Thursday, Dennis said. The fatal encounter with police happened after negotiations failed and police tried unsuccessfully to use “less lethal tactics,” Dennis said, without providing details.
There are no reports of a potential motive at this time.
There have been growing threats in recent days against FBI agents and offices across the country since federal agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites, 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.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday also condemned the threats and other attacks on the FBI and Justice Department in the aftermath of the search at Trump’s estate.
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said.
—With files from The Associated Press