Social media posts being looked at by law enforcement
Ricky Shiffer, the 42-year-old suspect who attacked an FBI field office in Ohio, has been considered a “suspected domestic violent extremist” by investigators, law enforcement officials were reported as saying.
An official told ABC News on Friday that Shiffer was being investigated as a “suspected domestic violent extremist” and that his social media history was under investigation following the attack on an FBI office on Thursday.
Investigators are also looking at whether or not Shiffer had ties to far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys, whose members have been charged with taking part in January 6, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press.
Shiffer appeared to call for the killing of FBI agents “on sight” in posts on Truth Social, the social media platform set-up by Donald Trump, in the days before the attack, NBC News reported on Thursday.
The social media accounts allegedly belonging to Shiffer on Twitter and Truth Social have since become unavailable, although posts seen by ABC News cited Shiffer’s calls for “war”.
One post on Thursday allegedly detailed Sheffer’s failed attempt to enter the FBI office in Cincinnati, with the suspect writing, “it is true I tried attacking the FBI”. Reports also say he left a “farewell message” on the platform being shot dead by law enforcement.
The incident followed criticism of the FBI issued by by the former US president for carrying out a search of his Mar-a-Lago property on Tuesday.
The search was thought to be in connection with a Justice Department investigation into classified documents allegedly taken by Mr Trump to Florida without authorisation.
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that monitors extremism and hate speech online, said on Thursday that social media posts appearing to belong to Shiffer were 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”.
Shiffer was armed when he walked into visitor screening area of the FBI’s office in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday morning before he was confronted and fled.
The Columbus, Ohio, resident then led law enforcement on a car chase which ended in a shootout hours later not far from the interstate 71 highway.
The FBI said Shiffer was shot dead during an exchange of gunfire at about 3.45pm, and that nobody else was harmed as a result. Officials said negotiations with the suspect had failed.