Internacionales

Ohio gunman appeared to threaten FBI after Trump search

Shif­fer is be­lieved to have been in Wash­ing­ton in the days lead­ing up to the Jan. 6, 2021, in­sur­rec­tion and may have been at the Capi­tol that day but was not charged with any crimes in con­nec­tion with the ri­ot, the of­fi­cial said

By AN­DREW WELSH-HUG­GINS and PATRICK OR­SA­GOS | AS­SO­CI­AT­ED PRESS

 

WILM­ING­TON, Ohio (AP) — A gun­man who died in a shootout af­ter try­ing to get in­side the FBI’s Cincin­nati of­fice ap­peared to have post­ed calls on so­cial me­dia for FBI agents to be killed and for peo­ple to take up arms and “be ready for com­bat” in the wake of the search at Don­ald Trump’s home, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said.

Fed­er­al in­ves­ti­ga­tors are ex­am­in­ing so­cial me­dia ac­counts they be­lieve are tied to the gun­man, 42-year-old Ricky Shif­fer, and posts that urged vi­o­lence af­ter the FBI en­tered Mar-a-La­go in Flori­da, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­licly and spoke to The As­so­ci­at­ed Press on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

At least one of the so­cial me­dia mes­sages ap­peared to have been post­ed af­ter Shif­fer tried to breach the FBI of­fice. It said: “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried at­tack­ing the F.B.I.,” ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial.

On Trump’s Truth So­cial me­dia plat­form, @rick­y­w­shif­fer­jr had post­ed a “call to arms” and urged peo­ple to arm them­selves and “be ready for com­bat” af­ter the search.

Au­thor­i­ties al­so are look­ing in­to whether Shif­fer had ties to far-right ex­trem­ist groups such as the Proud Boys, the of­fi­cial said.

Shif­fer was armed with a nail gun and an AR-15-style ri­fle when he tried to breach the vis­i­tor screen­ing area at the FBI of­fice Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial. Shif­fer fled when agents con­front­ed him.

He was lat­er spot­ted by a state troop­er along In­ter­state 71 and got in­to a gun bat­tle that end­ed in his death, state po­lice said.

The burst of vi­o­lence un­fold­ed amid FBI warn­ings that fed­er­al agents could face at­tacks fol­low­ing the search in Flori­da.

The FBI is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the at­tack as an act of do­mes­tic ex­trem­ism, ac­cord­ing to the law en­force­ment of­fi­cial.

Shif­fer is be­lieved to have been in Wash­ing­ton in the days lead­ing up to the Jan. 6, 2021, in­sur­rec­tion and may have been at the Capi­tol that day but was not charged with any crimes in con­nec­tion with the ri­ot, the of­fi­cial said.

Of­fi­cials have warned of a rise in right-wing threats against fed­er­al agents since the FBI en­tered Trump’s es­tate in what au­thor­i­ties said was part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to whether he took clas­si­fied doc­u­ments with him af­ter leav­ing the White House. Sup­port­ers of the for­mer pres­i­dent have railed against the search, ac­cus­ing the FBI and the Jus­tice De­part­ment of us­ing the le­gal sys­tem as a po­lit­i­cal weapon.

FBI Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Wray de­nounced the threats as he vis­it­ed an­oth­er FBI of­fice in Om­a­ha, Ne­bras­ka, on Wednes­day, say­ing, “Vi­o­lence against law en­force­ment is not the an­swer, no mat­ter who you’re up­set with.”

The FBI on Wednes­day al­so warned its agents to avoid pro­test­ers and en­sure their se­cu­ri­ty key cards are “not vis­i­ble out­side FBI space,” cit­ing an in­crease in so­cial me­dia threats against bu­reau per­son­nel and of­fices.

Shif­fer was a reg­is­tered Re­pub­li­can who vot­ed in the 2020 pri­ma­ry from Colum­bus, Ohio, and in the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion from Tul­sa, Ok­la­homa, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic records.

Court records show the Ohio De­part­ment of Tax­a­tion filed suit against him in June, seek­ing a $553 tax lien judg­ment, ac­cord­ing to court records list­ing him at an ad­dress in St. Pe­ters­burg, Flori­da. He al­so pre­vi­ous­ly lived at sev­er­al ad­dress­es in Colum­bus and in Om­a­ha, Ne­bras­ka.

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Welsh-Hug­gins re­port­ed from Colum­bus, Ohio. As­so­ci­at­ed Press writ­ers Saman­tha Hen­drick­son and Julie Carr Smyth in Colum­bus, Michael Bal­samo in Wash­ing­ton, Jim Mus­t­ian in New York and Ryan Fo­ley in Iowa City, Iowa, con­tributed to this re­port.