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Police standoff near Wilmington is over following incident at Cincinnati FBI office, suspect dead

clinton county sheriff's car in a parking lot
Bill Rinehart
A photo from the media staging area in Clinton County on Aug. 11, 2022.

An armed individual wearing body armor attempted to get inside the Cincinnati FBI office Thursday, prompting a police chase that led officers to a standoff with the suspect in Clinton County. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the suspect was shot and killed by law enforcement around 3:42 p.m.

The incident remains under investigation. Authorities did not immediately release the man's name or any information about a potential motive. The Ohio State Highway Patrol confirmed his identity Friday morning as Ricky Shiffer, 42, of Columbus.

Shiffer claimed on social media to have been at the Capitol on Jan. 6, a source previously told NPR, though any involvement in Jan. 6 has not been verified by NPR and Shiffer was not charged in connection to Jan. 6.

Thursday's incident began around 9:15 a.m. when the FBI reported "an armed subject attempted to breach the Visitor Screening Facility" at the FBI Cincinnati Field Office. The agency says armed FBI agents responded to an alarm. The suspect then fled northbound on I-71.

Once in Clinton County, officials issued a lockdown for residents and businesses within a one-mile radius of the intersection of Smith and Center roads.

"Law enforcement has traded shots with a male suspect who is wearing a gray shirt and body armor," reported Clinton County EMA in a Facebook post around 11:30 a.m.

Lt. Nathan Dennis told media at a staging area near Caesar Creek Flea Market that during the hours-long standoff, officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect. After some time, they moved forward to attempt to take the suspect into custody using "less than lethal" munition rounds. The suspect reportedly raised a firearm toward the officers, who then shot and killed him.

No officers were injured at any point during the situation, Dennis said.

Police shut down I-71 and multiple roadways in Clinton County outside Wilmington. I-71 reopened at about 2:18 p.m. Thursday, but the Clinton County EMA said State Route 73 (between SR 380 and Mitchell Road) remained closed until after the standoff ended.

While law enforcement didn't immediately comment on motive, the episode at the Cincinnati FBI office comes one day after the FBI director raised concerns about online threats against agents and the Justice Department following the agency’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

The president of the FBI Agents Association, the organization representing more than 14,000 active and former special agents, released a statement Thursday condemning threats against law enforcement.

“FBI Special Agents are dedicated members of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line every day to protect the public from criminals and terrorists," said Brian O’Hare. "Special Agents and their families should never be threatened with violence, including for doing their jobs. The threats made recently contribute to an atmosphere where some have, or will, accept violence against law enforcement as appropriate. It is not. This is not a partisan or political issue. It is a matter of public safety and basic decency. Calls for violence against law enforcement are unacceptable, and should be condemned by all leaders.”

Updated: August 11, 2022 at 6:37 PM EDT
Updated: August 11, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
Updated: August 11, 2022 at 2:23 PM EDT
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.
Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.