Gunman shot by police during standoff on Friday
The 42-year-old served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine and later in the National Guard, Military.com reports.
The Ohio man enlisted in the Navy soon after high school, The Washington Post reports.
Shiffer grew up on a small family farm in Perry County, Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River, the oldest of four siblings.
An unnamed family member told the Post that Shiffer was a “very intelligent but quiet person.”
“He had quite a memory on him,” they said. “It was full of facts and information when he would talk about something. He knew a lot about farm equipment.”
Shiffer was in the Navy between 1998 and 2003, serving as a fire control technician and operating onboard the nuclear-powered USS Columbia in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, earning no awards or decorations.
The position meant he was responsible for the systems used to maintain and fire the craft’s advanced weapons, and required a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance, a Navy spokesperson told Post.
He followed his time on the sub with three years in the Florida National Guard as an infantryman, deploying to Iraq then being honourably discharged in 2011, according to records from the military branch.
Following his service, public records indicate Shiffer bounced around the country, including a period in Tampa, Florida, growing more interested far-right politics.
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 Times reported.
“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 a far-right group present at the Capitol insurrection, and officials say they’re now looking into Shiffer as a “suspected domestic violent extremist.”
Shiffer was also pictured at the January 6 insurrection, according to images compiled by extremism researcher Chad Loder.
Since Shiffer’s name surfaced in connection with January 6, he’s been on the radar of federal law enforcement, the Times reports.
A neighbour told the paper they had been questioned by federal agents about Shiffer, who reported on social media accounts bearing his name that he was a construction electrician.
Since January 6, online posts seem to indicate Shiffer grew increasingly more radical, especially after the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence earlier this week.
“We must not tolerate this one,” an account with the name Ricky Shiffer wrote on Truth Social, Donald Trump’s social media platform, 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.
Then, on Thursday morning, Shiffer showed up at a Cincinatti FBI field office, armed with a nail gun and an AR-15-style rifle, attempting to breach a building before being repelled by special agents.
Police chased him into a cornfield in Wilmington, Ohio, where he was ultimately shot by law enforcement after a daylong standoff.