A man clad in body armor tried to break into the security screening area of the FBI’s Ohio field office on Thursday, authorities said; he was shot during the ensuing standoff and later fled the scene.
After the search of former president Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, officials warned of an increase in threats against federal agents, which led to the confrontation that began at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office.
The man “attempted to breach” the screening area for visitors to the FBI office, according to federal officials, before running away when agents confronted him. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that he was followed onto Interstate 71 and fired a gun from his vehicle.
The suspect got off the interstate just north of Cincinnati and drove to some country roads, where he engaged police in gunfire. While the extent of the man’s injuries are “unknown,” the patrol reports that no one else was hurt. As of Thursday afternoon, the confrontation had not yet ended.
Ohio authorities have ordered residents and business owners within a mile radius of the interstate to lock their doors and remain inside. The highway is now open for traffic again.
Since federal agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, there has been a rise in threats against FBI agents and offices across the country. White nationalists and antisemites frequently use the social media platform Gab, where they have publicly threatened an armed uprising.
The FBI has been monitoring a wide variety of other disturbing conversations on Gab and other platforms in which federal agents have been threatened with violence. While visiting another FBI office in Nebraska on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned the threats.
Wray said on Wednesday in Omaha, “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, regardless of who you’re upset with.”
An increase in social media threats to FBI personnel and facilities prompted the FBI to issue a warning to its agents on Wednesday, instructing them to avoid protesters and make sure their security key cards are “not visible outside FBI space.” Agents were also cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and possible protesters.
This week’s search of Mar-a-Lago was not mentioned by name in the warning, but “recent media reporting on FBI investigative activity” was cited as the cause of the online threats.
The Los Angeles Times was the first to publish this story.
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