Posted 4:29 p.m. today
Updated 9:06 p.m. today
Hillsborough, N. C. — Multiple agencies are continuing to investigate after the Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough was burned and vandalized over the weekend.
Volunteers resumed their campaign work from a mobile office Monday morning after a flammable substance, which was contained in a bottle and thrown through one of the building’s front windows, burned some furniture and damaged the interior of the building. Officers said graffiti that included a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” were also spray painted on an adjacent building.
On Monday, a soot-covered American flag sat outside the headquarters, a reflection of the charred interior of the building.
“I looked at Facebook and … it was like something went over me. Not cold chills, it was just a feeling and my heart hurt,” said Orange County GOP Vice Chair Evelyn Poole-Kober.
Poole-Kober volunteers countless hours at the Republican Party headquarters and takes issue with those who refer to the damage done to the building as vandalism.
“When you throw a bomb through a window that has something explosive and fire in it, that is way beyond vandalism. I mean, there was intent to destroy,” she said.
In a 911 call, a woman who discovered the damage said she didn’t see flames or smoke when she arrived on the scene, but the building smelled heavily of smoke.
“They obviously threw something that was flaming through the window at the Republican Party, and I’m not sure what damage is inside. I’m not about to go inside and look,” the caller said.
“They threw some sort of firebomb through the window because it’s smoked up under the porch and all around the window frame, and I walked close and didn’t go any further, but I can smell smoke so obviously it went out on its own or didn’t work well, and if it is some sort of incinerator device, I certainly am not going around it,” the caller said.
The caller, who said she owned the adjacent building, said there was no damage to that structure other than the graffiti.
“There is nothing here other than that very racist sign hanging on the side of my building because I guess my wall was big enough for the Republican Party so see,” she said.
Gov. Pat McCrory toured the damaged office Monday afternoon.
“To come back near our state capitol and see a broken window from a Molotov cocktail is unimaginable and it’s uncalled for and there are no excuses whatsoever,” McCrory said.
Hillsborough police said the incident happened sometime between 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday. They are working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, the ATF and the FBI to narrow the time frame.
“This is not who Orange County Hillsborough is. This is totally anarchist. It’s trying to upset our county, trying to upset our town, and we won’t have no part of it,” said volunteer Daniel Ashley. “We’ll be here. We’ll be here until the election.”
Police have not released any suspect information in connection with the incident. There are no cameras at the office, authorities said.
The FBI on Monday sent evidence from the crime scene to it’s Quantico, Va. lab to be processed. Authorities said the case has been prioritized.
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