(Headline USA) An armed man decked out in body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio on Thursday, then fled and was injured in an exchange of gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said.
Federal officials said the man “attempted to breach” the visitor’s screening area at the FBI office and fled when agents confronted him. He was chased onto Interstate 71, and a shot was fired from his car, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The suspect left the interstate and abandoned his car on nearby roads, where he exchanged gunfire with police. The man has “unknown injuries,” but no one else was hurt, the patrol said. The standoff remained in progress as of midafternoon Thursday.
Officials in Ohio have 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.
The confrontation that began at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office came as officials warned of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Likewise, conservative leaders have warned of the possibility that the agency itself, in a bid to create public sympathy, may attempt false-flag operations similar to the phony kidnapping plot of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that would paint conservative Trump supporters in a negative light.
The suspicious circumstances of the Mar-a-Lago raid on Monday have led to near universal Republican condemnation, as well as raising alarm among left-wing leaders like former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Global leaders like Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele have likewise condemned the actions as ressembling those that Americans would sanctimoniously condemn in other countries.
What would the US Government say, if OUR police raided the house of one of the main possible contenders of OUR 2024 presidential election? 🤔
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) August 9, 2022
Although there was no indication as of Thursday afternoon whether the action was one of a Trump supporter, an FBI plant or, potentially, a left-wing extremist seeking to sow confusion, the episode has fueled a rise in anti-FBI rhetoric on platforms that cater predominately to right-wing users.
On Gab, some users have warned they are preparing for an armed revolution.
Federal officials have also been tracking an array of other chatter on Gab and other platforms threatening violence against federal agents.
“Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with,” Wray bemoaned.
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.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press