CINCINNATI (AP) — 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 exchanged gunfire in a standoff with law enforcement, authorities said.
The confrontation at the FBI’s Cincinnati field office comes as officials warn of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Federal officials said the man had “attempted to breach” the visitor’s screening area at the FBI office and fled when he was confronted by agents. He was chased onto Interstate 71 and has exchanged gunfire with police, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.
Authorities have closed the interstate in both directions as police remained in a standoff. No injuries were immediately reported.
Officials in Ohio have locked down a mile radius near the interstate and urged residents and business owners to lock doors and stay inside.
An FBI evidence team has arrived at the office to investigate, according to multiple media reports.
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. 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 Wednesday 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.”