Is this related to a series of threats reportedly received by the FBI after the raid on Mar-a-Lago? Or is this an incident entirely unconnected to politics? WLWT in Cincinnati reported on a “threat” at the local FBI office, which touched off a police chase in Clinton County on I-71 and local lockdown orders. There’s no word on what it means yet:
A police pursuit and ongoing police situation in Clinton County has shut down two highways and prompted an area lockdown. It all started after a potential threat was made at a FBI building in Cincinnati.
Officials with the Cincinnati FBI field office confirmed the situation began after a potential threat was made at an FBI building in Cincinnati.
Officials said one person showed up to the office and appeared to be armed while making potential threats. The person drove off, leading Ohio State Patrol on a chase into Clinton County where there’s still an ongoing police situation.
Almost no one will follow this advice, but don’t rush to conclusions as to what this means. The FBI has lots of investigations under way, of course, and plenty of people resent their work for various reasons, usually very silly and destructive reasons. This might not even be about the FBI per se, but it’s tough to believe that someone would just wander into a building with that level of security just to present some kind of generic threat.
The timing on this certainly suggests that it could be related to outrage over the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago, but that was on Monday. Since then, FBI director Christopher Wray told reporters that he was concerned about the rise of “violent rhetoric” in the wake of the raid:
The director of the FBI had strong words Wednesday for supporters of former President Donald Trump who have been using violent rhetoric in the wake of his agency’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Christopher Wray, who was appointed as the agency’s director in 2017 by Trump, called threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department “deplorable and dangerous.”
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
Wray made the remarks following a news conference during a long-planned visit to the agency’s field office in Omaha, Nebraska, where he discussed the FBI’s focus on cybersecurity. He declined to answer questions about the hours-long search Monday by FBI agents of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida resort.
It’s possible that this is connected to those instances of “violent rhetoric,” but there are some good reasons to remain skeptical too. First off, why do something in Cincinnati? The raid took place in Florida, and the FBI and DoJ home offices are in Washington DC. Second, it’s tough to figure out just what this “threat” was, given the vague description here. Clearly something happened and clearly the perp was sufficiently concerned about the consequences to run away, but that’s about all we can assume for now — if even that much.
Needless to say, it’s incredibly stupid to show up at any law enforcement facility while carrying firearms to act in a threatening or intimidating manner. Wray’s certainly right about that. Also, the people who work in the FBI’s field offices — even in south Florida — aren’t the people who made the decision to conduct the raid, so if that’s what prompted this, it’s even stupider. But until we get more details, maybe we should all wait and see what really transpired in Cincinnati.
Update: Reportedly, the suspect has fired shots at pursuing police and may have been wounded. It turns out that this may have something to do with a warrant related to January 6, not the Mar-a-Lago raid:
"SUBJECT STILL FIRING AT POLICE WITH RIFLE, MAY HAVE GUN SHOT WOUND, WARRANTS ARE RELATED TO US CAPITOL INCIDENT "
Important caveat: raw incident reports are incomplete & can contain errors. This report is timestamped 10:59am.
Source: Incident Page Network pic.twitter.com/tw38Bsse1q
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) August 11, 2022
That puts this even further into the stupid range, if true. An update from WLWT reports that the perp attempted to breach the visitor area at the FBI office. Assuming all of these threads pan out, it looks like this was an attempt at personal revenge that has been cooking a lot longer than the Monday raid. But again, that’s a big assumption at this point.
Update, 7:02 pm ET: Police have identified the suspect as Ricky Schiffer. Police tried to negotiate his surrender, but ended up having to kill him. As noted above, the suspect was involved in the January 6 riot, and tried to foment a “war” after the raid on Mar-a-Lago:
After a lengthy standoff, police officers shot and killed an armed man accused of trying to break into the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati office on Thursday, officials in Ohio said, but the motives of the man remained unclear.
Investigators are looking into whether the man had ties to extremist groups, including one that participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter.
In what appeared to be one of his social media accounts, the suspect posted a message earlier this week, just days after federal agents searched the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump, threatening to kill employees of the F.B.I. …
Lieutenant Dennis said law enforcement officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect during the hourslong standoff, and then tried to take him into custody with “less-than-lethal tactics.” Those efforts failed, he said, and officers fatally shot him after he raised a gun.
The suspect allegedly had recently created an account on Truth Social. It’s tough to know whether this is on the level or a put-on — but if it’s on the level, the suspect posted an update during the standoff, which Allahpundit sent over to me:
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) August 11, 2022
If this is accurate, then Shiffer died of idiocy. It is yet another reminder of the danger of demagoguery, a lesson that we have seen play out for the last couple of years in cities across the US.
Update: The idiocy keeps on coming, too. Shiffer allegedly started all of this by firing at the FBI office … with a nail gun, if NBC News got this right:
A man identified by two law enforcement sources as Ricky Shiffer, who died in a confrontation with police after firing a nail gun at an FBI Cincinnati building, appeared to post online in recent days about his desire to kill FBI agents shortly after former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was searched.
Two law enforcement officials confirmed Shiffer’s name to NBC News. Shiffer attended the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, according to three people aiding law enforcement who saw him in photos taken from the day of the attack,however it’s unclear if he went inside the building. Shiffer frequently posted about his attendance at the Capitol on social media.
It sounds like Shiffer wanted to get killed.
Update: When I say both sides need to learn about vile demagoguery, Jon Levine explains exactly what I mean:
Didn’t a progressive wing nut try to kill a Supreme Court justice like a month ago? — or has that been memory holed? https://t.co/Z7hmQd6yBd
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) August 11, 2022
Yes, apparently it has — along with the Bernie supporter that shot several members of Congress a few years back, not to mention all of those violent insurrections in the summer of 2020. Political leaders and organizers need to stop using needlessly apocalyptic rhetoric.