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GOP office in N.C. firebombed, vandalized police say

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Republican Party headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina was vandalized and firebombed overnight, Hillsborough Police said Sunday afternoon.

The building at 347 Ja-Max Drive was hit with graffiti and “flammable material” in a bottle was thrown through a window starting a fire inside, police said in an email.

Graffiti that said “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” was spray painted in black paint on the side of a building next to the Republican headquarters, according to police.

That graffiti, which was also at 353 Ja-Max Drive, included a swastika and was discovered before 9 a.m. by a nearby business owner, officials said.

“The flammable substance appears to have ignited inside the building, burned some furniture and damaged the building’s interior before going out,” police said. “The substance was… in a bottle thrown through one of the building’s front windows.”

No one was hurt and no damage estimates were available.  Police are working with the ATF to investigate, officials said.

The North Carolina Republican Party released a statement Sunday afternoon calling the incident a “vicious attack” and “hate crime” and said they would increase security at events and offices.

All N.C. Republican offices were asked to close Sunday night while officials evaluate the situation to determine if there is a continued threat, officials said Sunday evening.

Party officials released a statement that said, in part:

“Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

“Whether the bomb was meant to kill, destroy property, or intimidate voters, everyone in this country should be free to express their political viewpoints without fear for their own safety. We will be requesting additional security at all Republican Party offices and events between now and Election Day to ensure the safety of our activists, volunteers, and supporters,” Woodhouse added.

N.C. Governor Pat McCrory also released a statement Sunday afternoon in which he vowed to make solving the firebombing a priority of his office.

“The firebombing of a local political headquarters in Orange County is clearly an attack on our democracy,” said McCrory, a Republican. “Violence has no place in our society – but especially in our elections. Fortunately no one was injured; however, I will use every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation.”

Meanwhile, the vandalism was condemned by Hillsborough officials.

“This 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,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said.

“I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of people who make Hillsborough their home: Acts like this have no place in our community. Our law enforcement officials are responding quickly and thoroughly to investigate this reprehensible act and prosecute the perpetrators.”

Democratic officials also denounced the incident, calling it an “attack,” with a statement released on Sunday afternoon.

“The North Carolina Democratic Party strongly condemns this attack. Violence has no place in our political system. We hope the perpetrators of this attack are brought to swift justice, and we are thankful that no one was hurt. Our deepest sympathies are with everyone at the North Carolina Republican Party,” said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever.

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