FBI lab analyzing firebombing evidence from N.C. GOP county office


Potential evidence gathered from a burned-out GOP headquarters in rural North Carolina has been sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., for analysis following a weekend firebombing that stunned local residents.

Hillsborough, N.C., Police Chief Duane Hampton said Tuesday that glass shards — possibly parts of the firebomb lobbed through a window Saturday night — will be examined for potential fingerprints, while charred portions of carpeting may help identify the specific type of accelerant used in the late-night attack.

Hampton said federal investigators, representing the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, also have been assisting local officers in gathering video from nearby businesses, as well as other material. He did not believe, however, that the target of the attack, the building housing the Orange County Republican Party, had been outfitted with surveillance cameras.

Hampton declined comment on the pursuit of possible suspects, but he said authorities continued to seek potential witnesses.

“This was not something that took a great deal of planning,” Hampton said, adding that while the damage to the building was extensive, the late-night timing spared physical injuries.

“Certainly, this could have been a lot worse,” he said.

The chief said there had been no advance information indicating that local political offices or officials could be at risk.

“There was nothing outstanding, nothing beyond the rhetoric you’re seeing in other places,” Hampton said, referring to the harsh tones that have defined the primary and general election seasons. “We didn’t detect any high tension here.”

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence toured the damaged offices Tuesday, describing the attack as “an act of political terrorism.”

“I’m here to stand solidly with the people of Orange County to say we’re with you,” the Indiana governor said.

Both the Trump campaign and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have condemned the bombing, with Trump referring to attackers as “animals” while Clinton described the incident as “horrific.”

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