The gunman who fired at police and engaged in an hours-long standoff in a corn field after trying to enter the FBI’s office in Cincinnati on Thursday has been identified in multiple media reports as someone who was present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
The man also apparently left a trail of posts on Truth Social, the social media platform created by former president Donald Trump, announcing his
plans to attack the FBI office and indicating that his actions were a direct response to the FBI’s search Monday of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
The suspect is Ricky Walter Shiffer, according to NBC News and the New York Times, which reported that Shiffer was under investigation for having “ties to extremist groups,” including the Proud Boys, which he apparently mentioned on social media.
The standoff suspect was shot and killed by police on Thursday afternoon, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, but his identity has not been confirmed.
The 42-year-old Shiffer reportedly posted on Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him attending a pro-Trump rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington the night before the Capitol was stormed, according to the Times.
A Twitter user named Ricky Shiffer also posted about the Proud Boys, the Times found, quoting a message that said: “Save ammunition, get in touch with the Proud Boys and learn how they did it in the Revolutionary War, because submitting to tyranny while lawfully protesting was never the American way.”
On Truth Social, according to posts reviewed by VICE News before they were deleted from the platform Thursday evening, Shiffer described himself in an account created Aug. 1 as a construction electrician who’d been blocked from other social media platforms.
“If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I. and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops,” Shiffer wrote Thursday morning.
Two days ago, after the Mar-a-Lago search, Shiffer posted, “People this is it. I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/ Army-Navy store/ pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and we must respond with force.”
Shiffer then added: “If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here.”
In another post on Truth Social from two days ago, Shiffer wrote about Trump, saying he expected the former president to “call for peace.”
“Donald Trump was my hero just a year ago but we must not continue to lay down and take this,” Shiffer wrote. “If he does not call for peace, it is probably because he fears for the lives of his grandchildren and young children. It is a dark situation for that family, but millions of other kids are in danger until we show the enemy how Americans do it.”
In a conversation with another Truth Social user, Shiffer wrote, “Don’t forget how Americans handle tyrants.”
Shiffer’s presence on Truth Social was first spotted by extremism researcher Travis View.
Spokespeople for Trump and Truth Social did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shiffer also reportedly posted on Twitter in response to a photo of rioters at the Capitol: “I was there. We watched as your goons did that,” with the “goons” apparently referencing police.
While it does not appear that Shiffer faced any criminal charges connected to the attempted insurrection, his presence at the Capitol may help explain his confrontation with law enforcement on Thursday.
The FBI said a suspect “attempted to breach the Visitor Screening Facility” at its office in Cincinnati, reportedly firing a nail gun before fleeing the scene in a white Ford Crown Victoria. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said they tried to pull the suspect over on a nearby freeway, but he fired shots at them and then fled his vehicle to hide in a corn field. The man was reportedly wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15-style rifle.
The stand-off ended late in the afternoon, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency, which posted a message on Facebook at 4:25 p.m. saying, “law enforcement operations and response has ended.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol said earlier Thursday no law enforcement officers were injured.
“Throughout the afternoon troopers and our law enforcement partners attempted to negotiate with the suspect to bring the standoff to a peaceful end,” the Highway Patrol said. “Once negotiations failed, officers attempted to take the suspect into custody by utilizing less lethal tactics. At approximately 3:42 p.m., the suspect raised a firearm and shots were fired by law enforcement officers. The suspect succumbed to fatal injuries on scene.”
The FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago has triggered an angry backlash from Trump’s supporters on the far right, with some threatening the judge who authorized the warrant, and conservative leaders and pundits calling for “civil war.”
Hours after the incident in Cincinnati, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would seek to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant, a move that would shed more light on why the FBI searched Trump’s club.
(Disclosure: Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, was a co-founder of VICE in 1994. He left the company in 2008 and has had no involvement since then.)