Firebombed GOP office reopens

A burned couch is shown next to warped campaign signs at the Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, NC on Sunday, Oct. 16 2016.

Firebombed GOP office reopens
October 20
02:00 2016

 AP Photo/Jonathan Drew



HILLSBOROUGH  — Investigators combed through shards of glass, looked for residue of flammable accelerant and tried to narrow down the overnight hours when someone torched a local Republican Party office by throwing a flammable device through the window.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said he wasn’t aware of any surveillance footage from the immediate vicinity, and the office sits where there wouldn’t normally be foot traffic late at night – in a decades-old retail complex that backs up to a wooded area.

A bottle filled with flammable liquid was thrown through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters early Sunday, damaging the interior before burning out, according to authorities. Someone also spray-painted “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” on a nearby wall. The office was empty and no one was injured.

Local party officials reopened a makeshift operation on folding tables out-side the office Monday while uniformed police looked on. Plainclothes investigators looked for evidence at the scene as state, local and federal investigators divided up leads.

“We have had people working on it from three different federal agencies, state agencies, our local folks, all day today, running down leads, working different parts of the investigation,” Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory spoke to reporters at the office, saying he’d never seen anything like it in his political career.

The violent act in the key battleground state has been condemned by public figures across the political spectrum, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. McCrory’s challenger, the state’s Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper also said the violence “has no place in our democracy.”

Democrats started a campaign to raise $10,000 to reopen the GOP office, meeting the goal in less than 40 minutes and “showing that Americans are thirsty for civility and decency,” wrote the GoFundMe drive’s creator, David Weinberger, a researcher at Harvard University.

“We appreciate it a lot, but I don’t know how much of that we’re going to get to use because of the campaign laws,” County GOP Chairman Daniel Ashley said Monday.

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