Gunman who attacked FBI field office was a top-clearance US Navy vet who was under FBI probe

So often is it true, it is becoming a cliché: The gun-toting lone wolf responsible for a crazed attack was on the FBI’s radar for months.

The line could be describing any number of disturbed gunmen, but in this instance, it is in reference to Ricky Walter Shiffer, 42, who was shot dead on Thursday by Ohio police after he donned body armor, grabbed a nail gun and an AR-15 style rifle, and stormed the FBI’s Cincinnati field office allegedly seeking revenge for the Feds’ raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

It turns out, Shiffer was a Navy veteran who used to hold top-secret clearance, and for months, he had been under investigation by the FBI, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The information did not contain a specific and credible threat,” the department said in a statement. “However, multiple field offices made attempts to locate and interview Shiffer which were unsuccessful.”

As an enlisted sailor, Shiffer served aboard the USS Columbia, a nuclear submarine — a post that requires every sailor to be eligible for a TS/SCI clearance, meaning Shiffer would have had to undergo an extensive background check, according to a Naval Personnel Command spokesperson. Once given, a service member typically only loses the clearance when they leave the position that required it, and the eligibility for such a clearance stays with them for years after they leave the military.

According to the Navy, Schiffer signed up in 1998 and attended the Navy’s submarine school in Groton, Conn. For nearly four years, he was assigned to the attack submarine.

At the time of his discharge in 2003, Schiffer was a fire control technician with an E-5 pay grade.

In 2008, the Navy vet joined the Florida National Guard. In January 2010, he was deployed to Iraq. Months after returning in 2011, Shiffer left the Guard with an E-4 pay grade.

As BizPac Review reported, Shiffer — or, at least, someone using an account believed to belong to Shiffer — took to President Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, and urged his followers to take up arms in response to the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.

“People, this is it,” the account posted. “I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat.”

“We must not tolerate this one,” Shiffer allegedly wrote. “They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force. If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here.”

“I expect Donald Trump to call for peace,” he stated. “Donald Trump was my hero just a year ago, but we must not continue to lay down and take this. If he does call for peace, it is probably because he fears for the lives of his grandchildren and young children.”

“It is a dark situation for that family,” Shiffer allegedly said, “but millions of others kids are in danger until we show the enemy how Americans do it.”


Given the public nature of the post, it makes one wonder what, in the FBI’s mind, constitutes a “credible threat” from someone who has already landed themselves under the Bureau’s magnifying glass.

Shiffer’s final post apparently came after his attempt to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati field office.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” he allegedly wrote. “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.”



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Melissa Fine


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