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An armed suspect who tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office is dead after standoff with authorities, officials say

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By Josh Campbell, Brynn Gingras, Paul P. Murphy and Dakin Andone, CNN

A law enforcement standoff with a man who attempted to breach the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati on Thursday has ended with the suspect dead, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Lt. Nathan Dennis said that after negotiations failed, law enforcement officers tried to take the suspect into custody, but the suspect raised a gun at authorities and was fatally shot.

The man was identified as Ricky Shiffer, according to three federal law enforcement sources.

The FBI is investigating Shiffer’s social media presence and whether he had ties to right-wing extremism, one of the sources said.

A separate federal law enforcement source tells CNN that authorities are looking into whether the suspect had ties to any group that participated in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol or if he participated himself.

A Truth Social account bearing Shiffer’s name referenced his attempt to storm an FBI office, and also encouraged others online to prepare for a revolutionary-type war, CNN has learned.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the user posted on Donald Trump’s social media site at 9:29 a.m. Authorities say the attack took place at 9:15. “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.”

It’s unclear whether the user was attempting to write more, as the post stops after the word “while.” Authorities said the suspect fled in a car after attempting to get in the FBI office.

Authorities have not yet confirmed that the account belongs to the suspect. However, a law enforcement source told CNN a photo on the account matched a government ID photo of the suspect.

The FBI declined to comment on the account and its postings, citing their ongoing investigation.

State troopers chased suspect, took fire

The hours-long standoff followed a vehicle chase with the suspect.

Earlier, Dennis said an armed man tried to enter the FBI office in Cincinnati Thursday morning. The suspect was unsuccessful, however, and fled the area.

An Ohio state trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle at a northbound rest stop along Interstate 71 about 20 minutes after the attempted breach, Dennis said, and tried to initiate a traffic stop before the suspect fled.

“The suspect vehicle did fire shots during that pursuit,” Dennis said in the earlier news conference. The suspect then exited onto State Route 73 and traveled east to Smith Road, where he headed north before eventually coming to a stop.

“Gunfire was exchanged between officers on scene and the suspect,” Dennis said. A news release expanded on the shootout, saying the suspect got out of his car, using the vehicle as cover.

No officers were injured, Dennis said.

The FBI said “an armed subject attempt to breach” the facility’s Visitor Screening Facility.

“Upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI special agents, the subject fled northbound onto Interstate 71,” the statement said. “The FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement partners are on scene near Wilmington, OH trying to resolve this critical incident.”

A federal law enforcement source told CNN the suspect was believed to be armed with a nail gun and AR-15. Another federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the incident told CNN FBI facilities around the country are reviewing their security posture in the wake of the incident.

The FBI has deployed a shooting incident review team from Washington, which is standard practice when an FBI agent or task force officer fires a gun, a law enforcement source said. The team will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and ultimately determine whether the use of deadly force was justified, the source said.

The FBI announced in a statement it was launching an internal investigation into the fatal shooting.

FBI director condemns violence and threats

The incident follows violent rhetoric posted online after the FBI went to former President Donald Trump’s Florida home to serve a search warrant.

In a message reviewed by CNN on Thursday, FBI Director Chris Wray told the bureau’s employees their “safety and security” was his “primary concern right now.”

“There has been a lot of commentary about the FBI this week questioning our work and motives,” Wray said. “Much of it is from critics and pundits on the outside who don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see. What I know — and what I see — is an organization made up of men and women who are committed to doing their jobs professionally and by the book every day; this week is no exception.”

He released a public statement Thursday evening after the incident in Cincinnati.

“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others,” he said. “Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans.

In remarks Thursday announcing the US Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant served to Trump’s Florida home, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he could not “stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.”

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CNN’s Evan Perez, Chuck Johnston, Steve Almasy and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.

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