The man who authorities say attempted to breach security at an Ohio FBI office Thursday morning may have been posting messages to former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social site, even as he was engaged in the attempted incursion.
The man, who was shot and killed after a standoff that lasted much of the day, was identified to the Associated Press and others as Richard W. Shiffer. Law enforcement officials said he was believed to have been present at the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 last year.
A USA TODAY review of online postings by an account in the name “Ricky Shiffer” shows the account had recently posted angry reactions to news of the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida home.
The same account posted during or just after the incursion at the FBI, appearing to describe the man’s efforts.
“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 post apparently ended mid-sentence.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Thursday that the armed man attempted to breach the FBI’s visitor screening facility about 9 a.m. After an alarm and response by special agents, the suspect fled.
The Truth Social post was time-stamped 9:29 a.m. Eastern time.
Truth Social deleted the profile for “@rickywshifferjr” Thursday afternoon, shortly after media reports began identifying Shiffer.
The social media service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Posts in recent days
Two days previously, the account in Shiffer’s name posted angry messages about the FBI search Monday at Trump’s home and club Mar-a-Lago.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Shiffer account posted:
“I’m having trouble getting information, but Viva Frei said patriots are heading to Palm Beach (where Mar A Lago is). I recommend going, and being Florida, I think the feds won’t break it up. IF they do, kill them.” (Viva Frei is a right-wing YouTube personality.)
The same day, the account posted:
“People, this is it. I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one.”
The post concluded:
“This time we must respond with force. If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here.”
The Truth Social account, before it was disabled Thursday evening, said Shiffer was a construction mechanic in Columbus, Ohio, which is about 100 miles from the FBI Cincinnati office. A search of public records identified a 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer in Columbus.
The Truth bio also suggested Shiffer was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and made a reference to Ray Epps, a man at the center of a January 6 conspiracy theory:
“I tried to explain to Epps that it would only make sense to go into the building if they approved the fraudulent votes,” the bio reads.
Shiffer was not charged in relation to the insurrection, according to a USA TODAY effort to track those prosecutions, and does not appear in a Justice Department index of the prosecutions.
A Twitter account in the name of Ricky Shiffer, with a photo of a man who closely resembles the photo in the Truth Social profile, was also suspended on Thursday evening.
Threats after FBI raid
FBI Director Christopher Wray defended the bureau Thursday against a new wave of threats in the aftermath of Mar-a-Lago search and an attempted breach of bureau offices in Cincinnati by an armed man.
“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,” Wray said in a statement.
“Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans,” said Wray, who was a Trump appointee.
Separately, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Justice Department had filed a motion to unseal the warrant that led to the search of Trump’s property. The former president and his lawyers have until Friday to decide whether to oppose unsealing the search warrant and related materials.
The posts are just one example of thousands of angry messages being posted on social media sites about the FBI search of Trump’s property. Kesa White, a researcher who tracks extremists at the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University, said that certain sites including Truth Social have been more vitriolic than others.
“The narrative is fluctuating across the board but I think (far-right social media site) Gab is the most infuriated by what’s happened,” White said.