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Who is Ricky Shiffer, the Ohio gunman who attacked the FBI and broadcast Trump conspiracies on Truth Social?

Gunman appears to have left trail of violent messages online

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 12 August 2022 19:07 BST
Stand-off continues after gunman threatened Ohio FBI office then fled into cornfield

Law enforcement officers shot and killed an Ohio man named Ricky Shiffer on Thursday afternoon, after the 42-year-old allegedly attacked an FBI field office in Cincinnati armed with a nail gun and an assault rifle.

Shiffer, who lived in the city of Columbus, Ohio, according to public records obtained by the Daily Beast, reportedly left a string of violent comments on social media in recent months ahead of the attack.

Here’s everything we know about Ricky Shiffer:

How did he attack the FBI?

Just after 9.15am, Shiffer attempted to breach the visitor screening facility at the Cincinnati field office of the FBI, according to the agency. The 42-year-old triggered an alarm and was repelled by armed FBI agents, the agency says.

A photo taken from a Twitter user named Ricky Shiffer, believed to be the man shot by police after attacking an FBI building in Ohio on Thursday, 11 August, 2022 (Twitter )

Shiffer was reportedly wielding a nail gun and an AR-15-style assault rifle, law enforcement sources told NBC News. State police officials later described Shiffer as also wearing body armour.

It’s unclear if Shiffer ever was able to enter the building.

A post on Truth Social – Donald Trump’s social media platform – from an account appearing to belong to Shiffer seemed to confess to the attack.

A Truth Social page allegedly belonging to Ricky Shiffer (Truth Social )

“If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the FBI, and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops,” the update reads.

Shiffer eventually fled the scene in his car, a Ford Crown Victoria.

How was Ricky Shiffer killed?

After driving away from the FBI field office, Shiffer was spotted at a rest stop by members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol later that day, leading officers on a car chase.

The Columbus man eventually abandoned his car and fled into a cornfield near Wilmington, Ohio.

Shiffer exchanged fire with officers, none of whom were injured.

Police surrounded him for hours in a tense standoff complete with negotiators, helicopter surveillance, and a bomb squad.

An official from the Ohio State Highway Patrol said officers attempted to negotiate with the 42-year-old, but were unsuccessful.

“At that point, law enforcement started to work toward moving in and taking the suspect into custody. Less-than-lethal tactics were utilised at that time,” Lt Nathan Dennis of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

“They were also unsuccessful,” he continued. “The suspect then did raise a firearm toward law enforcement, and shots were fired by law enforcement officers.”

It’s unclear whether Shiffer fired on police at this point, and which agency’s officers ultimately took the fatal shot.

What motive did Ricky Shiffer have to attack the FBI?

Police have not yet offered an official explanation as to why the 42-year-old tried to shoot up the FBI office.

However, social media evidence appears to indicate Shiffer was a far-right conservative who attended the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, and was inspired to take up arms against the FBI after the agency raided Donald Trump’s home earlier this week.

Shiffer was at the January 6 riots at the Capitol, two unnamed law enforcement sources told NBC News, and social media posts appearing to belong to the man, as well as contemporaneous photos, seem to confirm that.

“I was there,” a Twitter user named Ricky Shiffer wrote on Twitter in May in response to a photo of people climbing the Capitol building, the New York Timesreported.

“We watched as your goons did that,” the user added, a seeming reference to the fringe, right-wing conspiracy theory that the January 6 riots were a false flag attack.

Two law enforcement sources told the Times they are probing whether Shiffer was a member of an extremist group present at the Capitol insurrection.

The Twitter account, which followed and replied to leading conservative politicians, appears to have been taken down since.

Shiffer was also pictured at the January 6 insurrection, according to images compiled by extremism researcher Chad Loder.

What did Ricky Shiffer write on Truth Social?

The Ohio gunman appeared to be a strong supporter of Donald Trump

After the FBI searched the former president’s Mar-a-Lago club and resident, a user on Truth Social, Donald Trump’s conservative social media platform, named Ricky Shiffer wrote, “We must not tolerate this one,” NBC News reports.

“I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me,” he added. “Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat.”

When another user said they had forwarded the posts to the FBI, the Shiffer account replied, “Bring them on.”

The same account potentially linked to Shiffer encouraged killing FBI agents “on sight.”

According to an analysis from The Washington Post, Shiffer appeared to be one of Truth Social’s most prolific posters, sending out 374 messages in the week before the FBI shooting, most of them pro-Trump conspiracy theories.

In a Twitter post earlier this year, the account linked to Shiffer posted that “the next step is the one we used in 1775,” a reference to the American revolution.

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