The 42-year-old Columbus man walked into the FBI security station outside the Cincinnati offices on Thursday morning, carrying a nail gun and an AR-15, and opened fire on the ballistic glass protectors inside with a nail gun, apparently from Confidence boosted by YouTube that such weapons are capable of breaking bulletproof glass. After firing several shots through the glass, with no apparent effect other than setting off alarms that sent agents running in his direction, Schiffer fled the building and drove off in his car.
Schiffer was a prolific user of Truth Social, a Trump-sponsored social media platform. Somehow, in the short time between when he attacked the FBI and when the police caught up with him, he was able to type one last message, though it ended in an incomplete sentence, as if he had been interrupted. It read:
Well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass, and I didn’t. If you don’t hear from me, it’s true that I tried to attack the FBI, and that means either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops.
About 20 minutes after the attack, Ohio Highway Patrol officers found Schiffer parked in his Ford Crown Victoria at an Interstate 71 rest area. When they tried to confront him, he fled down the freeway with police in pursuit. Police say he fired shots at them. He drove onto State Route 73 and stopped at a corn field shortly thereafter. Schiffer got out of the car with a gun and started shooting at the officers from the back of the car. Police then engaged him in a conversation that lasted nearly two hours. When those conversations broke down, police say they tried to capture him with “less lethal” weapons, but when he fired at the officers, they returned fire and he was shot and killed.
Schiffer was a true MAGA loyalist who had gone to Washington on January 6, 2021 and participated in the attack on the US Capitol. The night before, he attended a pro-Trump rally led by proud boys at Washington’s Black Lives Matter Plaza, which turned into a violent confrontation with police, previewing the next day’s historic events. He also appears in several photos and videos of the mob that attacked the Capitol.
He later urged readers to support the proud boys on Twitter. “Save your ammo, connect with the proud boys and learn how they did it in the Revolutionary War, because submitting to tyranny while legitimately protesting has never been the American way,” Schiffer wrote.
He also tweeted to Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene about the 2020 election. “Congresswoman Green, they managed to fix the election,” Schiffer wrote. “It’s over. The next step is what we used in 1775.
In recent weeks, his Truth Social posts had become even more combative. “This country has never had a worse enemy,” he wrote on August 5. In 1776 there was much less, even World War II was less.
“Save your ammo and be ready to go as soon as you hear it start,” he wrote in a post that was liked by 24 readers that same day. “Someone who wanted to be a hero couldn’t have lived in a better time period.”
When the FBI issued its warrant to Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, Schiffer went completely off the deep end, joining a flood of MAGA fans who immediately declared the raid a case of political harassment by the “deep state” and declared their desire to launch a “civil war” against the Biden administration. “tyranny”.
That day, Shiffer posted a declaration of sorts on Truth Social:
People, here it is. I hope the 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 shop/pawn shop opens, get everything you need to be ready for battle. We must not tolerate this. For 2 years now they have been encouraging us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything. This time we must respond with force. If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here.
The interlocutor asked him: “Do you offer terrorism?” He replied:
A very important question.
No, I’m instigating a war. Be prepared to kill the enemy, not mass shootings where the left goes, don’t burn buses with transsexuals in them, don’t find people with leftist signs in their yards and beat them up. Violence is not (all) terrorism. Kill the FBI and be ready to take down other active human enemies and those who try to stop you from doing so.
He also began reconsidering his options and apparently considered going to Florida to defend the former president against the FBI.
I’m having trouble getting information, but Viva Frei said the Patriots are going to Palm Beach (where Mar a Lago is). I recommend going and being in Florida I don’t think the feds will screw it up. If they do, kill them.
Another Truth Social user named Grizzly Mama was horrified: “Oh dear, we can’t go with that! Not now, not here. “
Schiffer replied, “Why not?” He later elaborated on the matter: “It won’t matter if we don’t get violent. We see that the courts are unjust and unconstitutional, only force remains.
The attack came as no surprise to anyone who had monitored the extremist rhetoric that flooded social media after the FBI executed its warrant, much of it from ostensibly mainstream Republican political figures and right-wing outlets like Fox News. FBI Director Christopher Wray weighed in on the rhetoric when discussing the attack with reporters.
“There has been a lot of commentary this week about the FBI questioning our work and our motives,” Wray said. “A lot of it is from outside critics and pundits who don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see. What I know and what I see is an organization that involves men and women every day do your job professionally and by the book; this week is no exception.”
As Laura Clawson has already explored, Schiffer’s move was almost inevitable after weeks of radicalization among right-wing leaders about federal law enforcement, particularly the Trump investigation, compounded by their immediate declarations that the search at Mar-a-Lago was an illegal attack. not just for Trump, but for all Americans.
Of course, few of these immovable “supposed” leaders were willing to discuss the attack with the FBI afterward. One of the only right-wing figures to do so, Charlie Kirk from Turning Point USAof course went on to blame the FBI, apparently for the attack:
I’m sure that will be the main focus now, although we have repeatedly said to keep calm and focus on the constructive things we can do. They will now try to play the victim after they occupied Donald Trump’s house, which is a military occupation.
A handful of his fellow MAGA enthusiasts later hailed Schiffer for his martyrdom. But on forums like 4chan and the Trumpist website The Donald, where much of the same conspiracy fearmongering that fueled Schiffer was created and amplified, the response was largely unanimous: It was all part of a bogus Deep State psyop operation using a “false flag” to smear Trump supporters.
As NBC reporter Ben Collins noted: “Every top post on TheDonald claims the Cincinnati FBI situation is a false flag. They constantly campaign for these kinds of attacks and never, ever take credit for them. This allows them to become a constant victim.
Conversations with The Donald differed little in their conspiratorial self-assurance that they could pierce the veil of the media:
Just one and he was arrested, right?
How convenient. It’s either a false flag, or the commenters from this “boohoo-nobody’s doing anything” site are playing right to them.
False flag. To block it further. We all know Trump supporters don’t. Rise up!
It’s too bad it wasn’t real and just another false flag put out by these faggot feds. They want people to react so badly, but it’s not happening, so they have to come up with these false flags.
Fake. They staged an attack on themselves to play the victim. It won’t work. No one feels bad for these farts.
See how they always try to pair the two together? Because of this, raising false flags when they don’t get the response they want from their attacks allows you to save the “crazy white guy with a rifle” for further narrative control. Typical nonsense.
One commenter on The Donald summed up the prevailing attitude, which was that it no longer mattered whether the attack was real or not, because they could all see the “truth”:
That’s right, I don’t think anymore. They fired the first shot yesterday, attacking Trump. The border has been crossed, the game has begun. The tyrannical left will stop at nothing to enslave us to screw it all up.
The whole point of this rhetoric, as a researcher Melissa Ryan told Insider, is to sow so much confusion and misunderstanding about the activities of many far-right extremists operating within Trumpworld. This is especially true when the inspiration for right-wing violence like Schiffer’s comes from so many of the same sources who now dismiss his actions as a “false flag.”
“These people have called for civil war, for violent terrorism, for the prosecution of the judge who issued the warrant, as well as FBI agents,” Ryan said. “And then there’s a moment of violence against the FBI and they’re like, ‘Oh no, obviously it was a false flag, they’re trying to make us look bad.’
As a Columbus resident @almostdomi observed on Twitter: “Imagine literally dying for Trump, but then the whole MAGA movement just calls it a false flag.”