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(Reuters) - An armed man who tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday was shot dead by police following a car chase, a gun battle and a standoff in a cornfield northeast of town, officials said.
Police had yet to identify the dead man and during a pair of news briefings declined to comment on his motive. The New York Times and NBC News, citing unnamed sources, identified him as Ricky Shiffer, 42, who may have had extreme right-wing views.
A person using that name forewarned of the attack on Truth Social, the social platform created by former President Donald Trump.
"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 ... " the message said.
His posts, including others expressing extreme views, were taken down from the Trump site shortly after police told reporters the Cincinnati suspect had been killed.
NBC News, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter, said the suspect was at the Capitol building in Washington during the assault by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.
The New York Times, citing two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter, reported investigators were looking into whether he had ties to extremist groups.
Some Trump supporters claim a grievance with the FBI over the former president's entanglements with the agency, which have included its probe into Russia's support for his 2016 presidential campaign and the court-authorized search of his Florida home on Monday.
The FBI has been the subject of online threats since its agents searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into documents removed from the White House when Trump left office in January 2021.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has described homegrown violent extremism as the most significant security threat to the United States, issued a statement following Thursday's events decrying "unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI."
"Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans," Wray said.
The Ohio incident began early on Thursday when the suspect unsuccessfully tried to enter the FBI's visitor screening facility. He then fled the area in a white vehicle, heading northbound on Interstate 71, the FBI said.
A chase ensued and the suspect fired his weapon at a state trooper, Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesperson Nathan Dennis told a news briefing.
The vehicle eventually came to a stop in Clinton County and gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and police, he said, before a lengthy standoff that ended with the suspect being shot six hours after the initial assault in Cincinnati.
"Throughout the day today law-enforcement officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect. After a time the negotiations failed," Dennis said.
"The suspect then did raise a firearm toward law enforcement and shots were fired by law enforcement officers on the scene," Dennis said. He said the suspect died at the site and no police were wounded.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Brendan O'Brien in Chicago, and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; editing by Howard Goller and Stephen Coates.)
Federal agents were searching for secret documents pertaining to nuclear weapons among other classified materials when they raided former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, according to a new report.
Citing people familiar with the investigation, the Washington Post reported on Thursday night that some of the documents sought by investigators in Trump’s home were related to nuclear and “special access programs,” but didn’t specify if they referred to the U.S. arsenal or another nations' weapons, or whether such documents were found.
“Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands,” the Post noted in its report.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” a former chief of the Department of Justice’s counterintelligence section, David Laufman, told the Post. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible,” Laufman added.
The bombshell report came just hours after the Justice Department moved to unseal the search warrant used in the raid, and Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed he had personally authorized the government’s request to execute the warrant, following a barrage of criticism stemming from conservative outrage fomented by Trump and many Republicans.
“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” the DOJ wrote in its motion. “That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this Motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any ‘legitimate privacy interests’ or the potential for other ‘injury’ if these materials are made public.”
Trump, who had so far kept mum about the warrant’s contents, later released a statement backing the “immediate release of those documents,” undercutting the fundraising efforts of top Republicans soliciting for donations before the truth came out.
“Not only will I not oppose the release of documents related to the unAmerican, unwarranted, and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar-a-Lago, I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents,” Trump wrote. “This unprecedented political weaponization of law enforcement is inappropriate and highly unethical.”
Until now, Republicans had argued that the raid was a political maneuver orchestrated to embarrass Trump and hurt his chances for another run at the White House. The Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee accused the FBI of third-world tyranny.
\u201cThis is what happens in third world countries. \n\nNot the United States. \n\nDoesn\u2019t the FBI have better things to do than harass the former PRESIDENT?\u201d— House Judiciary GOP (@House Judiciary GOP) 1660000467
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) used the raid to disseminate a lie that President Biden’s new bill included funding for 87,000 new IRS agents.
\u201cAfter todays raid on Mar A Lago what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?\u201d— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1660003933
The new line of attack peddled by right-wing media figures yielded fatal results when a January 6 rioter attempted to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday afternoon, He was shot and killed several hours after he fled the scene.
Should the new report prove accurate, Republicans may be hard-pressed to explain why highly classified nuclear documents were moved to a private residence at Mar-a-Lago -- and why Trump didn't yield them month ago.