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Account bearing Ohio FBI standoff suspect’s name encouraged violence against the agency in posts on Trump social media platform


CNN, WKEF

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

An account bearing the name of Ricky Shiffer, the man authorities say they killed after he tried Thursday to breach an FBI field office in Cincinnati, made posts on the social media platform founded by Donald Trump referencing the attempt to storm the office and encouraging others online to prepare for a revolutionary-type war.

The post about the FBI office attack was made minutes after the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the incident at the FBI office in Cincinnati began, shortly after 9:15 a.m.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the user posted at 9:29 a.m. Thursday on Truth Social, Trump’s social media site. “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 intended to write more, as the post stops after “while.” Authorities at 9:37 a.m. located and began pursuing the suspect’s vehicle, a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Shiffer, 42, of Columbus, was killed by law enforcement after a vehicle chase and a subsequent hours-long standoff in Ohio’s Clinton County, roughly a 45-mile drive northeast of downtown Cincinnati, authorities say.

He had been known to the FBI because he had a connection to the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol and also had associates within the Proud Boys, according to two law enforcement sources. The Proud Boys is a far-right extremist group whose head, along with four other group leaders, were charged with seditious conspiracy in the 2021 attack.

What role Shiffer may have played the riot is under investigation, the two sources said. The deadly incident unfolded as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.

Authorities have not yet confirmed the Truth Social account belongs to the suspect killed in Ohio. However, an image on the account matched a government ID photo of the suspect, a law enforcement source told CNN. The FBI declined to comment on the account and its postings, citing its ongoing investigation.

On the account, the user claimed to have been in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, but did not say whether he entered the Capitol. The poster frequently referenced his belief the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

The user communicated to others with the account — which has only been active in the last few weeks — with increasingly politically violent and revolution-minded thoughts.

Though the user’s push for violence did not start or stop with the FBI’s recent actions, the bureau’s search warrant execution early this week at Trump’s Florida home marked the start of the user’s intense fixation on responding with violence toward the agency.

“People, this is it,” the user wrote Monday, shortly after news broke of the search warrant. “I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me.” In the post, the user also encouraged people to go to gun and pawn shops to “get whatever you need to be ready for combat.”

“We must not tolerate this one,” the user wrote.

When another user responded, saying they would be sending his photo and information onto the FBI, the user of the account bearing Shiffer’s name responded saying, “Bring them on.”

It’s unclear whether the information was forwarded to the FBI.

“Evil already won, now we need to fight a civil war to take back the country,” the user later wrote Monday.

On Tuesday, the day after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the poster wrote people were heading to gather in Palm Beach and if the FBI broke up the group, “kill them.”

When another user responded to his post, saying no one should resort to violence, the user of the account bearing Shiffer’s name responded with, “Why not?”

The user of the Shiffer account then pushed another message of political violence, saying, “when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

“Don’t forget how Americans handle tyrants,” the user wrote Wednesday to another user, commenting on the same article.

“They rig elections, and get away with it,” the user wrote Tuesday.

Shiffer himself served in the US Navy from 1998 until June 2003, his releasable military records show. Aboard a US Navy submarine, he was a fire control technician, responsible for weapons systems.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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