Police: N.C. county GOP office firebombed


Authorities said a retail complex housing a Republican Party office in North Carolina was damaged by fire and graffiti overnight Sunday morning. Local police are investigating alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (Oct. 16)
AP

Police in North Carolina were investigating the apparent firebombing of a county Republican Party office near the state capital, local media reported.

The North Carolina Republican Party said the GOP headquarters in Orange County, about 40 miles northwest of Raleigh, suffered major damage when it was attacked Saturday night. No one was injured during the attack, WCNC-TV reported.

Party officials said an explosive device was thrown through a window of the county headquarters in Hillsborough, N.C. The words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” were spray-painted on a nearby building.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted strongly, tweeting late Sunday: “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP.”

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, denounced the attack, calling it “political terrorism.” He said all Americans “should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy.”

He said the office was “a total loss.”

“The only thing important to us is that nobody was killed, and they very well could have been,” he toldThe Charlotte Observer.

On Sunday afternoon, the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char and a couch was burned down to its springs, The Associated Press reported. Shattered glass covered the floor, and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering. By late afternoon, the graffiti was covered in paint.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was working with local investigators, AP reported.

Party officials will ask for more security at all offices and events between now and Election Day, Woodhouse said.

In a statement, Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said the “highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property; it willfully threatens our community’s safety via fire, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation.”

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, took to Twitter to call the incident “clearly an attack on our democracy.”

Orange County, home to the University of North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill, is overwhelmingly Democratic, The Observer reported. Democrats and independents outnumber Republicans 5-1.

N.C. Democratic Party Chair Patsy Keever called the bombing “outrageous.”

“I’m appalled that this would happen, certainly we don’t need violence for any reason,” she said. “Clearly this is outrageous that anybody would do this kind of destruction to either party’s buildings or people.”

And Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also took to Twitter to denounce the damage.

Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo

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