The armed man who tried to storm the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday, before getting into a shootout with cops that left him dead in an Ohio cornfield, appeared to be a conspiracy-addled Trump super-fan who told his followers on Truth Social that he was “ready for combat” after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
The gunman was identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, the Ohio State Patrol told The Daily Beast.
Two days before Shiffer embarked on the failed breach, an account under the same name on Truth Social foreshadowed an attack, calling for followers to “kill the F.B.I. on sight” in the wake of the raid at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. In his bio on TruthSocial, Shiffer identified himself as an electrician based in Columbus, Ohio, who had multiple social media firms lock his account.
“People, this is it,” the account posted. “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.”
A post timestamped 9:29 a.m. Thursday, about 15 minutes after a man with a rifle tried to breach the visitor screening part of the FBI office, said, “Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t. 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 while [sic].”
Shiffer was shot dead in a rural Ohio cornfield around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Ohio State Patrol Lt. Nathan Dennis said in a press briefing. He said that hours of non-lethal tactics failed before the 42-year-old was gunned down.
“The suspect then did raise a firearm toward law enforcement and shots were fired by law enforcement officers on the scene,” Dennis said.
After announcing his “call to arms” Tuesday, a user asked Shiffer if he was “proposing terrorism?” Shiffer’s account replied, “No, I am proposing war.”
“Be ready to kill the enemy, not mass shootings where leftists go, not lighting busses on fire with transexuals in them, not finding people with lefist signs in their yards and beating them up,” the post said. “Violence is not (all) terrorism. Kill the F.B.I. on sight, and be ready to take down other active enemies of the people and those who try to prevent you from doing it.”
Sheffer was also active elsewhere on social media, despite his most recent posts being limited to Truth Social.
He appeared to feature in a video posted to Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, of him at a pro-Trump rally in D.C. the night before the Capitol was overrun, The New York Times reported. Two law enforcement sources cited by the Times said investigators were looking at Shiffer’s links to extremist groups involved in the riot.
A Twitter account in Shiffer’s name follows just two people—one of which is Donald Trump Jr.—and posted a reply to a tweet in May that claimed he was at the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“I was there. We watched as your goons did that,” he wrote, seemingly implying that Trump foes were responsible for the carnage. “When I told the ones trying to break back in that Trump tweeted be peaceful, one of them said, ‘Fuck Trump.’”
In another tweet, he name-checked the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group accused of conspiring to storm the Capitol.
In his first tweet on April 26, he wrote to Trump Jr., “I’m just waiting for your Dad. I opened my account (first ever) at 12:25 today.”
He followed it up with a tweet storm of more than 40 posts on May 7 covering nearly every hot-button conservative conspiracy, from antifa being behind the Capitol riot, to the 2020 election being rigged, to COVID trutherism. His posts are often littered with threats of violence.
In a reply to a tweet from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-RA), who had written that she was “feeling 2016 vibes,” Schiffer wrote, “Congresswoman Greene, they got away with fixing elections in plain sight. It's over. The next step is the one we used in 1775.”
In reply to a post about COVID, he wrote, “Under no circumstances comply. We didn’t get this country through peaceful compliance-or peaceful protest.”
In another, he said he was ready for “war against the communists who chemically nueter prebuscent children and call it gender transitioning.” He ended the post: “Save ammunition.”
In his bio on TruthSocial, Shiffer alluded to his involvement in anti-certification efforts in D.C. in January 2021, and recalled a brush with Ray Epps, the man infamously caught on tape urging demonstrators to illegally enter the U.S. Capitol.
“On the fifth I tried to explain to Epps that it would only make sense to go into the building if they approved the fraudulent votes,” his bio reads. “[He of course went back to yelling ‘we have to go IN to to the Capitol.’ I, unfortunately wrote him off as a dumbass.) They did approve those votes. I am ready to handle this like an American.”
FBI Cincinnati said in a statement Thursday that an “armed subject” tried to breach the visitors’ screening area at about 9 :15 a.m., triggering an alarm and a response by FBI special agents. The man, now known to be Shiffer, fired a nail gun at personnel inside the building, NBC reported, before holding up an “AR-15 style rifle” as he fled.
Authorities say Shiffer then drove over 40 miles northeast with agents and state troopers giving chase. Authorities say gunfire was exchanged between officers and Shiffer, who then took cover in a cornfield for more than five hours.
As cops chased Shiffer through the rural community of Wilmington, the county’s emergency management agency told residents within a one-mile radius to stay inside, lock their doors, and “remain vigilant.” Shiffer was described as armed, wearing a gray shirt and body armor.
Interstate 71—an important artery that connects Cincinnati to the state’s capital, Columbus, where Shiffer lived—was closed for several hours before being reopened around 2:30 p.m. as local authorities confirmed the gunman was “contained.”
There has been an increased threat level for federal agents after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago on Monday, which prompted calls to “defund the FBI” from Republican members of Congress. Others on the far right, however, have called for something far more sinister—a “civil war.”
Authorities have not released a potential motive for the attempted breach of the field office, despite Schiffer’s social media suggesting it was politically motivated.
The FBI did not respond to multiple requests for comment.