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GOP candidates in Ohio governor's race react to violent attempt to breach Cincinnati FBI office

 The FBI field office in Cincinnati
Ann Thompson
The FBI field office in Cincinnati

The Republican team running for re-election as Ohio governor and lieutenant governor have made their first comments about the attempted violent attack on the FBI office in Cincinnati last week.

They were asked about last week’s attempted breach of the Cincinnati FBI office by an armed Columbus man a few days after the FBI searched former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The incident on Thursday started when a man believed to be armed with an AR-15 rifle and a nail gun, and wearing body armor, tried to breach the Cincinnati field office of the FBI at around 9:15 a.m. The man ran off after an alarm was triggered and armed FBI agents responded. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers found him at a rest area on I-71 headed northbound and tried to stop him, but he fled, which started a chase.

Police said the suspect fired shots from his car and got off I-71 on Route 73 in Clinton County. He stopped and police said gunfire was exchanged. At that point, a lockdown was issued for a one-mile radius around the area. After nearly six hours, the FBI said "the suspect raised a firearm and shots were fired by law enforcement officers."

Police said 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer of Columbus was shot and died at the scene.

At an event announcing new federal COVID-19 funds for crime reduction efforts, Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said law enforcement is under potential attack all the time.

“This is something that is very scary and it's something that is just a horrible thing. And so we certainly denounce that type of activity," DeWine said. "We have to back up our law enforcement, we have to support our law enforcement and certainly what happened with the attack on the FBI is a very scary thing."

At a separate roundtable with law enforcement for their campaign, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was asked if Republicans could do more to denounce violence against the FBI.

“I'm an elected Republican and I do denounce it," Husted said. "Nobody should take another person's life and attacking any law enforcement official has to be condemned by Republican, Democrat, anyone. What happened at the FBI offices in Cincinnati is, I think, an unfortunate sign of our times. And I'm glad that none of the law enforcement officials lost their lives in confronting that ugly situation."

DeWine’s Democratic opponent Nan Whaley said in a statement: "An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all of us. This type of political violence should be condemned in the strongest way possible from every leader, regardless of party."

Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park), who represents the district that includes the FBI field office, released a statement that read in part: "This is the strongest reminder that violent rhetoric by public officials can incite violent acts in the real world. Everyone in a position of power has a responsibility to dial down dangerous rhetoric before more people are hurt or killed."

The FBI and Homeland Security have warned that threats to law enforcement have increased since the search of former President Donald Trump's home in Florida. Experts in domestic terrorism have also been sounding the alarm about rhetoric on far-right social media, saying it's similar to what they saw in the days before the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.