The man who authorities say attempted to breach security at an FBI office in Ohio on Thursday morning may have posted messages on former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social site, even as he was engaged in the attempted incursion.
The man, who was fatally shot after a standoff that lasted much of the day, has been identified by The Associated Press and others as Ricky Shiffer. Law enforcement officials said he was allegedly present when the US Capitol rioted on January 6 last year.
A USA TODAY review of online posts by an account named “Ricky Shiffer” shows that the account had recently posted angry reactions to news of the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida home.
The same account published during or shortly after the FBI incursion, appearing to describe the man’s efforts.
“Well, I thought I had a way to get through bulletproof glass, and I didn’t. If you haven’t heard from me, it’s true that I tried to get through it. ‘attack the FBI, and that either means I got taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent in the regular cops while”
The message apparently ended in the middle of a sentence.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Thursday the gunman tried to break into the FBI’s visitor screening facility around 9 a.m. After an alarm and a response from special agents, the suspect fled.
Truth Social’s post was time stamped at 9:29 a.m. EST.
Truth Social deleted “@rickywshifferjr”‘s profile on Thursday afternoon, shortly after media began tagging Shiffer.
The social media service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW:The Mar-a-Lago search warrant has become a hot topic of speculation.
Messages from the last days
Two days prior, the account in Shiffer’s name had posted angry messages regarding Monday’s FBI raid of Trump’s home and the Mar-a-Lago club.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Shiffer account posted:
“I’m having trouble getting information, but Viva Frei said the Patriots are heading to Palm Beach (where Mar A Lago is). I recommend going there, and being in Florida, I think the authorities won’t break it. If they do, kill them.” (Viva Frei is a right-wing YouTube personality.)
On the same day, the account posted:
“People, this is it. I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, it’s your call to arms from me. Get off work tomorrow as soon as the store d ‘weapons/Army-Navy/pawn shop opens, take everything you need to be ready for battle. We must not tolerate this one.
EXTREMIST OBSERVERS:How a network of researchers searches for the next hate-motivated attack
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 deactivated Thursday night, said Shiffer was a construction mechanic in Columbus, Ohio, about 100 miles from the FBI office in Cincinnati. A public records search identified a 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer in Columbus.
Truth’s biography also suggested that Shiffer was at the United States Capitol on January 6 and referenced 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 enter the building if they approved of the fraudulent votes,” the biography reads.
Shiffer has not been charged in connection with the insurgency, according to a USA TODAY effort to track those prosecutions, and does not appear in a Justice Department prosecution index.
A Twitter account in the name of Ricky Shiffer, with a picture of a man that looks a lot like the Truth Social profile picture, was also suspended Thursday night.
Threats after the FBI raid
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday defended the bureau against a new wave of threats following the search of Mar-a-Lago and an attempted breach of the bureau’s offices in Cincinnati by a gunman.
“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and do grave harm 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 of deep concern to all Americans,” said Wray, who was appointed by Trump.
WHAT WILL HE DO?:Donald Trump could prevent the publication of the FBI search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
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 they oppose the unsealing of the search warrant and related documents.
The posts are just one example of thousands of angry messages posted on social media sites about the FBI’s search of Trump’s property. Kesa White, a researcher who tracks extremists at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Laboratory (PERIL), said some sites, including Truth Social, have been more vitriolic than others. others.
“The narrative fluctuates in all areas, but I think (extreme right-wing social media site) Gab is the most furious about what happened,” White said.