Suspect dies during standoff following attempt to break into Cincinnati FBI HQ, police say
CINCINNATI (WXIX/Gray News) - An hours-long standoff between law enforcement and an armed suspect who tried to break into Cincinnati FBI headquarters Thursday morning and then fled, shooting at state troopers, has ended with the suspect’s death, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The man fled the break-in attempt, leading law enforcement on a chase, at the end of which he fired at officers.
No law enforcement officers or bystanders have been hurt.
FBI Director Christopher Wray issued the following statement:
“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others. Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans. Every day I see the men and women of the FBI doing their jobs professionally and with rigor, objectivity, and a fierce commitment to our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. I am proud to serve alongside them.”
Before the standoff, the armed suspect tried to breach the FBI’s Visitor Screening Facility at its headquarters in Sycamore Township around 9:15 a.m., the bureau said.
An alarm went off, prompting armed FBI agents to respond, and the suspect fled onto northbound I-71, the FBI said in a tweet.
Troopers found the suspect’s vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, near the northbound I-71 rest area around 9:37 a.m., where the pursuit began.
OSHP said a gunshot was fired from inside the suspect’s vehicle as troopers were pursuing him from behind.
The pursuit continued until the suspect exited I-71 onto eastbound State Route 73 and then went north on Smith Road, according to OSHP.
The vehicle passed over I-71 on Smith Road and stopped around 10 a.m. near Van Trees Road before the suspect exited the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with law enforcement, troopers say. He then hid behind the vehicle, using it as cover, and the standoff began.
OSHP and other law enforcement jurisdictions tried to negotiate with the suspect for hours to bring about a peaceful end, but negotiations failed. Officers then tried to take him into custody using nonlethal measures.
At 3:42 p.m., according to OSHP Lt. Nathan Dennis, the suspect raised a firearm, and law enforcement officers shot him. He died on scene.
OSHP said they are still in process of identifying the deceased suspect, but an anonymous law enforcement source has identified the suspect to the Associated Press as Ricky Shiffer, 42.
The source says Shiffer was believed to be in Washington in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot and may have been at the Capitol on the day of the attack. He was not charged with any crimes in connection with the attack, however. An investigation is underway to determine if he had ties to any far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys.
Clinton County Emergency Management Agency Director Thomas Breckel says both sides of Interstate 71 are back open in Clinton County because authorities have decided it’s far enough away from the standoff scene and is not a risk to the public. State Route 73 and State Route 380 are also back open.
A lockdown remains in effect for all buildings within a one-mile radius of Smith and Center roads near the standoff scene. People in that area are being told to lock their doors and remain inside, according to Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.
The incident comes a day after the FBI director warned against threats circulating online against FBI agents and the Justice Department after the agency’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution, the Associated Press said. Officials are tracking social media traffic threatening violence against federal agents.
“Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with,” FBI Director Wray said Wednesday in Omaha.
Copyright 2022 WXIX via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.