Ricky Shiffer, the Ohio man who was shot and killed by a state trooper after trying to break into an FBI building last Thursday, was also a military veteran – serving as both a Navy nuclear submariner and in the Florida National Guard. According to three people helping in law enforcement’s investigation, Shiffer was also present at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6th.
This photo appears to show FBI attack suspect and @MrAndyNgo fan Ricky Shiffer trespassing behind police lines at the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Source Bill Bryan/Flickr: https://t.co/aZYm3NGhOz pic.twitter.com/Z9stdkwc1L
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) August 11, 2022
The Navy confirmed that Shiffer served in the armed forces from 1998-2003 and was stationed aboard the USS Columbia. All sailors serving aboard submarines must have a security clearance, according to a spokesman from Naval Personnel Command, but there’s been no verification that Shiffer had such clearance.
As an infantryman in the Florida National Guard, Shiffer was deployed to Iraq in Jan. 2010 and left service after he returned.
Prior to his death, Shiffer posted on Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, about his failed attempt to breach the federal building.
“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,” the account @RickyWShifferJr wrote at 9:29 a.m. ET, shortly after police allege the shooting occurred.
In the days following the search of former president Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort by federal law enforcement officials, Shiffer made several online posts expressing his desire to kill FBI agents – calling for people to arm themselves and be “ready for combat,” NBC News reported.
Social media posts believed to belong to Shiffer on Twitter and TruthSocial suggest that the suspected gunman was likely “motivated by a combination of conspiratorial beliefs related to former President Trump and the 2020 election (among others), interest in killing federal law enforcement, and the recent search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week,” according to a briefing compiled by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that monitors extremism and hate speech online.
A Twitter account in the name of the man identified by the New York Times as the main suspect in the FBI Cincinnati building incident had repeatedly tweeted about potential civil war, stolen election and claimed he was at the 6 Januray Capitol riot. pic.twitter.com/Y65SF9VZWK
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) August 11, 2022
Shiffer attacked the FBI Cincinnati field office at approximately 9:15 am on Thursday and was spotted shortly after by a state trooper.
In a briefing held shortly after 1 pm, Ohio state trooper Lt. Nathan Dennis told reporters that the suspect’s vehicle was spotted by an officer at around 9:30 am near an interstate rest stop. Firing shots from his vehicle, Shiffer led police on a chase along Interstate 71 before pulling off the highway into a cornfield.
“Law enforcement has traded shots with a male suspect who is wearing a gray shirt and body armor,” the agency said in a statement, warning people nearby to stay inside and lock their doors.
Ohio State Highway Patrol said the suspect had fired shots while he was being pursued by police.
Prior to his attempted domestic terror attack on a government institution, Shiffer had been on the FBI’s radar, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Mr. Shiffer had also previously been a subject of FBI attention, according to the department. ‘The information did not contain a specific and credible threat,’ a statement from the department said. ‘However, multiple field offices made attempts to locate and interview Shiffer which were unsuccessful,’” the newspaper quoted the FBI as saying.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, condemned the right-wing calls for violence, saying on Wednesday, “I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement. Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
After another user responded that his photo and information had been forwarded to the FBI, Shiffer’s account responded: “Bring them on.”
Original reporting by Ben Collins, Ryan J. Reilly, Jason Abbruzzese, and Jonathan Diest at NBC News.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick