Police identify suspect who tried to breach Ohio FBI building

FILE PHOTO: Suspect attempts attack on FBI building in Ohio
·2 min read

(Reuters) - Police in Ohio on Friday identified a 42-year-old Columbus man as the armed individual who tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati before being shot dead by officers following a car chase, gun battle and standoff in a cornfield northeast of town.

In a statement, the Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the suspect in Thursday's incident as Ricky Shiffer, but did not disclose a motive. The New York Times and NBC News, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that Shiffer may have had extreme right-wing views.

A man by the same name used Truth Social, the platform created by former President Donald Trump, to forewarn the attack. The man's posts about the attack and other posts expressing extremist views were taken down shortly after police told reporters the suspect had been killed.

NBC News, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter, said the suspect also was at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington during the assault by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's 2020 election victory over the Republican former president.

The New York Times, citing two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter, reported that investigators were looking into whether Shiffer had ties to extremist groups.

Some Trump supporters claim a grievance with the FBI over his entanglements with the law enforcement agency, which have included its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign to boost his prospects as well and the court-authorized search of his Florida home on Monday.

The FBI has been the subject of online threats since its agents searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into documents removed from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021.

The Ohio incident began early on Thursday when the suspect unsuccessfully tried to enter the FBI's visitor screening facility. He then fled the area in a white vehicle, heading northbound on a highway, state police said.

A chase ensued and the suspect fired his weapon at a state trooper, authorities said. The vehicle eventually came to a stop in Clinton County and gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and police before a lengthy standoff ended with the man being shot by officers, authorities added.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Will Dunham)