N.C. governor offers reward in GOP firebombing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina Governor McCrory announced Wednesday that he is offering a reward of up to $5000 for information on the Orange County Republican Party headquarters firebombing.

"The firebombing of a local political headquarters was clearly an act of intimidation and I'm going to do everything I can to find the individual or individuals who committed this assault on our democracy," said the governor.

"I remain committed to using every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation."

Officials say someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid through the window of the Hillsborough Republican Headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina, Sunday morning. Luckily no one was inside, but as the sun came up Sunday, the damage was clear.

The Associated Press reported that the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char and a couch was burned down to its springs. They said shattered glass covered the floor and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering.

Also found at the scene, a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else” spray painted on the side of the building.

On Tuesday, Hillsborough Police released the 911 call that reported the firebombing.

During the investigation thus far, officials say they have narrowed the crime's time frame between midnight and 8:52 a.m. on Sunday.

Hillborough Police say the recording of the 911 call has redaction and obfuscation to protect the individual reporting.

The approximately 4-minute call notes a smell of smoke, no visible flames but signs of the use of an incendiary device at the Republican Party headquarters, located at 347 Ja-Max Drive in the Shops at Daniel Boone.

"Someone has firebombed through the window of the Republican Party next to me and sprayed all over the side of the building, 'Nazi Republicans leave town or else,'" the caller reported.

The caller further reported, "They threw some sort of firebomb through the window because it smoked up under the porch and all around the window frame... I can smell smoke, so obviously it went on its own or didn't work well, but it is some sort of incediary device."

The caller theorized that the incident must have occurred in the early hours due to no one being in the area and the presence of outdoor cats the caller cares for at that time of the 911 call.

"This case has been the sole focus of HPD investigators since it was reported Sunday morning," Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton said. "We are conducting many interviews, following every lead, and utilizing numerous investigative techniques and tactics."

The FBI has sent evidence from the crime scene to its lab in Quantico to be processed, police said. 

The incident has gained national attention. Both presidential candidates responded to the incident on Twitter. Hillary Clinton tweeting that she was thankful no one was hurt in the attack.

But presidential candidate Donald Trump responded with a different tone, tweeting: 

J. Michael Bitzer, who’s a political analyst and political science professor at Catawba College, says it’s that kind of anger that may have fueled the fire.

“The rhetoric has just been so heated and so escalated on both sides that unfortunately this kind of violent rhetoric leads to violent action,” said Bitzer.

After the attack, a group of Democrats started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the GOP office’s repairs. According to the organizer, the page raised its $10,000 goal in just 40 minutes.

“For some folks, they’re recognizing that yes, you can have your political differences, but when it comes to issues like attacks on facilities, that we’re all North Carolinians and that ultimately were all Americans,” said Bitzer.


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