A man identified by two law enforcement sources as Ricky Shiffer, who died in a confrontation with police after he fired a nail gun at a Cincinnati FBI building, appeared to post online in recent days about his desire to kill FBI agents shortly after former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was searched.
Two law enforcement officials confirmed Shiffer’s name. Shiffer was at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, according to three people aiding law enforcement who saw him in photos taken from the day of the attack; however, it’s unclear whether he went inside the building. Shiffer frequently posted about his attendance at the Capitol on social media.
On Truth Social, a social media platform founded by Trump’s media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, Shiffer appeared to have posted a message detailing his failed attempt to gain entry to the FBI building.
“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 account @RickyWShifferJr wrote at 9:29 a.m. ET, shortly after police allege the shooting occurred.
Shiffer posted to Truth Social multiple times in the days after the FBI searched Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, about wanting to engage in violence. One post called for people to arm themselves and be ready for “combat.”
“We must not tolerate this one,” he wrote.
Shiffer’s Truth Social account, which was seen by NBC News on Thursday evening, has since become unavailable.
After another user responded that his photo and information had been forwarded to the FBI, Shiffer’s account responded: “Bring them on.”
In response to another user who asked whether Shiffer was advocating for terrorism, Shiffer’s account responded that users should kill FBI agents “on sight” and also target a vague list of enemies who try to stop the slayings.
In reply to another user Tuesday, the account responded, “You’re a fool if you think there’s a nonviolent solution.”
On May 7, Shiffer’s account replied to a post by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., on Twitter, in which she wrote, “I know they are trying 1984, but I’m feeling 2016 vibes.”
“Congresswoman Greene, they got away with fixing elections in plain sight,” Shiffer’s account wrote. “It’s over. The next step is the one we used in 1775.”
On the same day, responding to a post by Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter imploring users to “Get ready” because “the midterm variant (of COVID-19) is coming and it’s going to be really scary,” referring to conspiracy theories that Covid-19 is manufactured or not dangerous, the account responded, “Do not comply.”
Pro-Trump internet forums erupted with violent threats and calls for civil war in the hours and days after the Mar-a-Lago search, at least one of them from a person who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Many Republican lawmakers have criticized the Biden administration over the search.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday called Trump allies’ criticism of the Justice Department “unfounded,” as did FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said Thursday that threats against the FBI “should be deeply concerning to all Americans.”
Trump repeatedly posted to Truth Social after the search, including to insinuate that the FBI had planted evidence.
Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.
Ryan J. Reilly is a justice reporter for NBC News.
Jason Abbruzzese is the senior editor for technology, science and climate for NBC News Digital.
Jonathan Dienst is a reporter for WNBC-TV in New York, leading its investigative reporting team and covering justice and law enforcement issues.
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