WILMINGTON, Ohio — An armed man accused of trying to break into the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday morning exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers after fleeing the area. He remained in a standoff hours later, officials said.
The attack came just days after FBI agents served a search warrant at the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump, and a day after the FBI director told reporters that online threats against federal law enforcement were “deplorable and dangerous.” There was no immediate indication that the incident in Ohio was related to the Trump search.
The man tried to breach the entrance to the visitor screening facility outside the FBI Cincinnati Field Office around 9 am, said Todd Lindgren, an agency spokesman. He said an alarm was set off and agents responded.
After fleeing the FBI offices in the Cincinnati suburb of Kenwood, the man headed north on Interstate 71, officials said, where he was spotted about 20 minutes later by a state trooper at a rest area. That trooper began a chase and came under gunfire, said Lt. Nathan Dennis of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The chase eventually left the interstate and snaked along rural roads before coming to a stop near an Interstate 71 overpass close to the city of Wilmington. Lieutenant Dennis said gunfire was exchanged, and that a standoff remained ongoing at about 1:30 pm Eastern time.
No law enforcement officers had been injured as of early afternoon, Lieutenant Dennis said. It was not clear whether the man had been wounded. The lieutenant said there was no continuing risk to the public outside the immediate area of the standoff.
The man’s identity was not immediately released.
The Emergency Management Agency in Clinton County, which includes Wilmington, said law enforcement officers had “traded shots” with a man dressed in a gray shirt and body armor.
The agency advised residents and businesses in the area to lock their doors and said a lockdown was in effect for an area within a mile radius of the intersection of Smith Road and Center Road, about a mile from Interstate 71. In an update just after 12 :30 pm, the agency said the gunman had not been taken into custody, but was “contained.”
The interstate was closed in both directions between the US 68 exit and the State Route 73 exit to the south, the agency said. State Route 73 was also closed between Mitchell Road and State Route 380.
The Ohio Department of Transportation advised people in Clinton County to remain in place and to use alternative routes if they needed to travel between Cincinnati and Columbus.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism