Cincinnati FBI Threatened, Armed Suspect Flees Scene

An armed suspect prompted a chase with law enforcement after attempting to break into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) building in downtown Cincinnati.

According to the FBI's Cincinnati division, the suspect attempted to break into the Visitor Screening Facility at about 9 a.m. Thursday, triggering an alarm.

Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials said Thursday afternoon that the suspect "has not yet been taken into custody, but is contained," according to WLWT.

The incident comes four days after FBI agents searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence for evidence in connection to the January 6 investigation, prompting widespread outrage from Trump and other conservatives toward the FBI.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave a statement Thursday afternoon about recent backlash toward the Justice Department.

"Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors," Garland said. "I will not stand by silently, when their integrity is unfairly attacked."

Lieutenant Nathan Dennis, a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), said during a news conference that the suspect fired several shots during the vehicle pursuit before he exited onto State Route 73 and traveled east to Smith Road before he eventually came to a stop.

"Gunfire was exchanged between officers on scene and the suspect," Dennis said.

In a statement to Newsweek, Dennis said that no officers or bystanders were injured, and the suspect has unknown injuries. He added that the OSHP will hold another press conference to deliver updates.

"The incident remains a standoff situation at this time with numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on scene," Dennis said.

NBC News reported that the suspect carried an AR-15-style rifle and fired a nail gun into the building before he fled.

"After an alarm and a response by FBI special agents, the subject fled north onto Interstate 71," FBI Cincinnati wrote on Twitter.

The suspect fled on Interstate-71 toward Columbus, according to local station WDTN. I-71 was shut down in both directions and State Route 73 was also closed between Mitchell Road and State Route 480. There are reports that I-71 has since been reopened.

WXIX reported that the suspect left the vehicle in a field off Smith Road and Ohio 73 off I-71, and there were multiple reports of exchanged shots, according to EMA officials.

The male suspect is described as wearing a gray shirt and body armor. All businesses within a one-mile radius of the area were put on lockdown and residents were asked to shelter in place.

Newsweek reached out to the FBI for additional comment.

Update 8/11/22, 3:19 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information.

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An armed suspect led police on a chase after attempting to breach the Cincinnati FBI headquarters on Thursday morning. STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images