An armed man tried to attack an FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, before being killed in a gunfight with law enforcement, in a terrorist incident apparently launched in retaliation for the search of former President Donald Trump’s home seeking the return of nuclear secrets and other classified documents that were illegally taken from the White House.
The man wearing body armor who was armed with an AR-15 rifle and a nail gun, was shot and killed by police after he tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office then fled the scene and held the Ohio Highway State Patrol to an hourlong standoff.
The suspect was identified as Ricky Shiffer, a suspected domestic violent extremist who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and possible ties to extremist groups, including the far-right Proud Boys group.
Social media posts believed to belong to Shiffer on Twitter and TruthSocial, Trump’s own social network, suggest the suspected gunman was likely “motivated by a combination of conspiratorial beliefs related to former President Trump and the 2020 election (among others), interest in killing federal law enforcement, and the recent search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week,” according to a briefing compiled by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that monitors extremism and hate speech online.
A series of recent posts to Shiffer’s social media accounts call for “war” and for FBI agents to be killed “on sight.” Shiffer may have been posting messages to Trump’s Truth Social site, while he was engaged in the attempted incursion.
The confrontation appears to be inspired by the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump’s Florida estate. Since the search, threats of violence against the FBI from Trump supporters online have increased, and Republicans have intensified criticism of the agency.
The search of Trump’s home by FBI agents has caused a political furor, with many Republicans accusing the FBI of acting out of politically motivated malice or even threatening the agency.
Sen. Rick Scott compared the government to “the Gestapo,” and the New York Young Republican Club called for the arrest of those involved in the search.
Crackpot Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted “DEFUND THE FBI!!” along with an image of an upside-down U.S. flag, a symbol of the nation in distress.
Attorney General Merrick Garland filed a motion to unseal the search warrant and property receipt from a search conducted at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Garland said he personally approved the Justice Department’s decision to seek a search warrant for FBI agents to conduct the unprecedented raid on the former president’s residence after months of negotiations failed to secure a return of classified government documents that were illegally removed from the White House.
Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to the Washington Post.
“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” says a motion Justice Department lawyers filed seeking to unseal the search warrant, noting that Trump had publicly revealed the search shortly after it happened. “That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public.”
The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Dept. request to unseal the search warrant and he denied any wrongdoing but a former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, said people familiar with the probe described a type of top-secret information that would cause authorities to try to move quickly to recover documents that could cause grave harm to U.S. security.
The “material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said David Laufman, the former Justice Department official who ran investigations of leaks of classified information. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”
The Monday search of Trump’s home by FBI agents has caused a political furor, with Trump and many of his Republican defenders accusing the FBI of acting out of politically motivated malice. Some have threatened the agency on social media.