FBI office break-in suspect dead after police standoff

Midwest

(NewsNation) — Law enforcement officials say the suspect who tried to breach the Cincinnati FBI field office Thursday is dead after raising his weapon at authorities during a standoff.

Police said in a news conference that they are still investigating the motive of the man, who was identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer. Police said they were investigating whether or not Shiffer had ties to any right-wing extremist groups, according to The Associated Press.

No officers were injured in the standoff with the suspect. Police said they attempted to negotiate with the suspect, but he was then shot and killed around 3:42 p.m. EST.

The armed man attempted to break into an FBI field office, then fled the scene, exchanging gunfire with authorities. Law enforcement later said the suspect was “contained” but not in custody.

The suspect had “unknown injuries,” after the gunfire exchange, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, but no one else was hurt.

Federal officials said the man had “attempted to breach” the Visitor Screening Facility at approximately 9 a.m. Thursday at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office. An alarm was activated, and armed FBI agents responded. The suspect was chased onto Interstate 71 and exchanged gunfire with police, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol spotted the suspect, and troopers attempted a traffic stop, but the suspect refused to pull over, NewsNation local affiliate WDTN reported. He then led troopers on a chase along State Route 73, WDTN reported, before coming to a stop near a rest area, where he continued to fire shots at law enforcement officers.

I-71 has now been reopened, but State Route 73 is still closed. 

Ohio officials locked down an area with a mile radius near the interstate and urged residents and business owners to lock their doors and stay inside.

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, the home of former President Donald Trump. On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and anti-Semites, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.

Current, former FBI personnel weigh in

Former FBI agent Dennis Franks said a healthy amount of distrust in the government is OK, but the violent rhetoric that has come against the FBI in the last few days, fueled by right-wing media, is “out of place.”

“The men and women at the FBI are just trying to do the right thing, they work hard every day, every night to protect the United States and they do that without recognition,” Franks said Thursday on “NewsNation Prime.” “It’s just disappointing that it’s come to this point in our society that rhetoric has gotten out of control.”

Franks said people need to understand that “hyperbolic statements have consequences.”

Former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan pointed all the way back to the 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey by former President Donald Trump as the beginning of “irreparable” harm being done to the image of the FBI.

“The men and women of the FBI, their integrity, the trustworthiness of the FBI was being called into question; we realized it was going to take years, if not decades to repair that,” Kaplan said Thursday on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.”

Kaplan said Tuesday’s Mar-a-Lago search warrant was like throwing a “hand grenade into an occupied room, understanding there is going to be collateral damage.”

“The United States has never been more divided then we are now, and then you light this fuse, or pull this pin out a hand grenade, it only exacerbates what we’re already suffering from,” Kaplan said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray denounced the threats as he visited another FBI office in Nebraska on Wednesday.

The entrance to the FBI headquarters in Cincinnati is shown Thursday, August 11, 2022. An armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and exchanged gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said. (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

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

The FBI issued a warning to all its agents to avoid protesters and not have their FBI badges visible outside of FBI spaces. The warning was not attributed to the Mar-a-Lago search, but rather an increase in threats against FBI personnel pertaining to “recent media reporting on FBI investigative activity.”

Check back as this story is developing.

NewsNation affiliate WDTN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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