An armed man who tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office was shot and killed by police after he fled the scene, leading to an hour-long standoff Thursday afternoon, the Ohio highway state patrol said.
The man, who has not been identified, was shot after he raised a gun toward police at around 3pm, said Lt Nathan Dennis, a patrol spokesperson.
Officials said the man was wearing body armor and was chased onto a highway, then had abandoned his car on nearby country roads bordering woods and farm fields just off Interstate 71, about 45 miles (72km) north-east of Cincinnati.
Federal officials said the man “attempted to breach” the visitor’s screening area at the FBI office and fled when agents confronted him. After fleeing onto I-71, he was spotted by a trooper and fired shots as the trooper pursued him, said Dennis.
The suspect left the interstate north of Cincinnati and abandoned his car on rural roads, where he exchanged gunfire with police. The man has “unknown injuries”, but no one else was hurt, the patrol said.
State highway workers blocked off roads leading to the scene as a helicopter flew over the area. Officials locked down a mile radius near the interstate and urged residents and business owners to lock doors and stay inside. The interstate has been reopened.
There have been growing threats in recent days against FBI agents and offices across the country since federal agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. On Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites, users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.
Federal officials have also been tracking an array of other concerning chatter on Gab and other platforms threatening violence against federal agents. The FBI director, Christopher Wray, denounced the threats as he visited another FBI office in Nebraska on Wednesday.
“Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with,” Wray said in Omaha.
The FBI on Wednesday also warned its agents to avoid protesters and ensure their security key cards are “not visible outside FBI space”, citing an increase in social media threats to bureau personnel and facilities. It also warned agents to be aware of their surroundings and potential protesters.
The warning did not specifically mention this week’s search of Mar-a-Lago but attributed the online threats to “recent media reporting on FBI investigative activity”.