What we know about man accused of breaching FBI gate in Atlanta

Suspect remains in hospital with state, federal charges pending

A South Carolina man accused of trying to breach the gate at the FBI’s Atlanta headquarters Monday was identified as a 48-year-old U.S. Navy veteran.

FBI investigators have not shared any suspected motive for Ervin Lee Bolling, the alleged driver of an orange Buick Encore that rammed into a wedge barrier just inside the facility’s gate around noon Monday. A bomb specialist searched the car before it was towed away, but the FBI has not said if any explosives or other weapons were found.

According to an FBI spokesman, Bolling was arrested by DeKalb County police after being detained by special agents at the scene. He was taken to the hospital, where he remained Tuesday, a DeKalb police spokeswoman said.

Bolling will be charged with interference with government property by the state of Georgia, the spokeswoman said. He also faces one federal count of destroying government property, the Associated Press reported.

While FBI officials would not share information about security protocols, spokesman Tony Thomas said it was business as usual at the Chamblee facility Tuesday.

“Today is a normal day,” Thomas told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Publicly available records show that Bolling lives in Easley, South Carolina, a town just outside Greenville. He works as an insurance broker at Bankers Life, where he has been employed since 2018. His office phone went unanswered Tuesday morning.

Bolling is a Navy veteran who served as an enlisted submarine warfare specialist for more than 20 years, according to military records. Between 1993 and 2017, he served on four submarines: USS Columbia, USS Albany, USS North Carolina and USS Alaska. Bolling received several medals for good conduct and service in the global war on terrorism. Following his first submarine stint, records indicate Bolling took a break from military service between July 1997 and April 1998.

According to the Bankers Life website, Bolling is married with three daughters. His Facebook page is mostly private, but he has publicly posted videos critical of President Joe Biden. In 2021, he set his profile photo to a comic criticizing the public safety measures meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bolling’s online political expressions are mild compared to those of 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, the man who attempted to break into the FBI Cincinnati field office in August 2022 and was later killed in a shootout with Ohio state troopers. In that case, Shiffer attempted to force his way through the visitors’ screening area at the FBI facility while wearing body armor, the AP reported. He fled the federal offices and was killed after an hours-long standoff.

According to the AP, Shiffer had traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, and was linked with multiple far-right groups, including the Proud Boys. He was not charged with any crimes related to the events of Jan. 6, but his attempt to breach the FBI office came soon after the agency raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Bolling has no criminal history beyond a few speeding tickets, public records show.

However, his brother, 43-year-old Michael Spencer Bolling, has been in prison in North Carolina since August 2013 for robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint. Michael Bolling pleaded guilty to multiple charges after stealing “a substantial amount of prescription medication” from the Medicap pharmacy in Columbus, North Carolina, in 2011, the Tryon Daily Bulletin reported. He was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, attempted drug trafficking and drug possession, and is projected to be released in August 2026.

A view of the gate and barricade at the entrance to the FBI field office in Chamblee.

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Ervin Lee Bolling also appears in the public sphere thanks to his participation in a huge class-action lawsuit settlement with the multinational conglomerate 3M Company. The lawsuit concerned 3M combat arms earplugs and accused the company of manufacturing and marketing defective products that left many veterans with hearing loss.

In August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida announced a settlement resolving nearly 250,000 consolidated lawsuits against 3M. While admitting no liability, 3M agreed to pay more than $6 billion to tens of thousands of plaintiffs.

Public records do not indicate if Bolling received a payout or how much money he could expect to receive.

— Staff writers Jeremy Redmon, Alexis Stevens and David Aaro contributed to this article.