Local News

Trump, Clinton weigh in after Triangle GOP office firebombed

Posted October 16, 2016
Updated June 12

— Republicans in Orange County will resume their work Monday, meeting in a mobile office, after their headquarters was burned and vandalized Saturday night.

According to officers with the Hillsborough Police Department, the building at 347 Ja-Max Drive was vandalized overnight with graffiti and a flammable substance. Officials say the graffiti included a swastika and the words "Nazi Republicans leave town or else." The words were painted in black on the side of a business located adjacent to the headquarters and discovered by the business owner Sunday morning.

The flammable substance, which was contained in a bottle and thrown through one of the building's front windows, burned some furniture and damaged the building's interior before extinguishing itself.

“This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property," Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said. "It willfully threatens our community’s safety, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation."

The incident comes 25 days before Election Day and executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse is requesting extra security following the incident.

Republican building vandalized in Hillsboro

"Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy," Woodhouse said in a statement. "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."

With the election just weeks away, Woodhouse said it would not have been unheard of to have people at the headquarters even at the late hour when the attack occurred. He said the flammable substance hit near a couch that volunteers often use to nap when they are working long hours. "It is just the Lord's intervention that somebody wasn't' here,' he said.

Daniel Ashley and other volunteers worked through their frustration Sunday with their hands covered in soot to determine what, if anything, could be salvaged.

'I'm angry as much as anything. I'm angry that the sign you see there 'freedom spoken here', somebody wanted to attack our freedom," he said.

Volunteers said that other than an occasional insult hurled in their direction, there were no threats, red flags or indication that an incident like what happened Sunday would happen.

"I know we've seen there's lots of tension on the national level. There's various forms of tension here in North Carolina, but it doesn't occur to you that it will elevate to a level like this," said political activist Matthew Arnold.

Woodhouse said the facility will be open Monday and volunteers will work from a Republican Party bus that has already pulled up in front of the parking lot Sunday night.

"It is meant to scare and intimidate people from volunteering, from working at this office and from working at other offices across the state. But we are going to do the necessary precautions to keep our people safe and keep them working,' he said.

The attack prompted comments from both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Democratic Chairwoman Patsy Keever released a statement Sunday evening condemning the attack.

“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," she said.

To show their support, a group of Democrats contributed funds to repair the GOP building through A Go Fund Me page. Their goal of $10,000 was exceded within 40 minutes of the page's launch.

Gov. Pat McCrory and Congressman David Price, who represents North Carolina's fourth district including Orange County, echoed the sentiments in a statement released Sunday evening.

"The firebombing of a local political headquarters in Orange County is clearly an attack on our democracy. 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," he said.

"I am deeply disturbed by this news from Hillsborough. Violence and intimidation have no place in democratic elections, period. I strongly condemn these actions and have confidence that law enforcement in Orange County will work quickly to bring the perpetrators to justice," Price said.

Several local and federal agencies are involved in this investigation, and officers are standing by the headquarters for security Monday morning.

Authorities said the incident occurred sometime between 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday and Hillsborough police are working to narrow the time frame. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have all offered to assist in the investigation.

"A great deal of teamwork is coming together to work this crime that is so atypical of our community," Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton said. 'in the shadow of such an ugly crime, we truly appreciate the unity of support that has been offered and want to assure our citizens that we are working to ensure the safety of our community."

“We’re so grateful that no one was hurt and that no buildings in the Daniel Boone complex were destroyed,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said. “I have every confidence in the joint effort of our law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the perpetrator of this reprehensible act.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Jon Purvis by phone at 919-732-9381, ext. 37.


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  • Susan Eaton Oct 17, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    being of a republican mindset does not make one an American. Being an American relates to being fortunate to either be born here or naturalized, not being a republican. You know this or else you failed basic civics, and fooling yourself with a false pretense is ridiculous. Fomenting insurrection and revolution under the pretense this would be "rescuing" others from themselves is not democracy. It is a power grab, pure and simple.

  • Barney Gravel Oct 17, 2016
    user avatar

    No I am not kidding Democrats are not Americans, they are a coalition of entitlement, interest groups. You do realize that 64% of the American colonists were against America declaring for independence. Indicating that 2/3 of American colonists felt the need to keep the "establishment," and hope King George the 3rd would take care of them. It is a direct parallel to how Hillary is campaigning now. She demonizes her opponent, she promises funds from the public treasury for perpetual care while aligning with those she supposedly is going to tax, (Wall Street "investment" in her charitable trusts). The only difference between Democrats and the British Army of the 18th century, is Democrats set fire to the office after the occupants are gone. Plus, only 33% believed in America from the on set, and the percentages are about the same today.

  • Ken Ackerman Oct 17, 2016
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  • Evan Morris Oct 17, 2016
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    During the 2008 campaign, over 30 cars parked outside an Obama political event had their tires slashed in Cumberland County. Other nearby vehicles were vandalized simply for having an Obama campaign sticker. Criminal acts committed during campaigns are committed by individuals. The perpetrators do not represent either political party nor candidate. This extensive coverage and self-righteous vitriol on both sides will only encourage others on the fringe. Hopefully, those responsible will be quickly arrested.

  • Karen Grigg Oct 17, 2016
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    Agreed, Raleigh Rose. One of the problems with social media and the Internet in general is that we are all self-segregating into like-minded echo chambers, and when we don't interact with folks who are different, we ascribe the worst traits to the "other". I live in a liberal part of the state, but I have relatives in other parts who are very conservative, and I try to just listen to their concerns when we talk. When someone informs me that I am Anti-American, live off the government (??), hate Christians, etc, etc, I realize that they are getting their information about us from biased media and other like-minded people, not from actually interacting with liberals. Similarly, it's too easy to condemn all conservatives as racists and bigots. We won't heal as a society until we can start talking to each other again, not PAST each other.

  • Bill Huntington Oct 17, 2016
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    The work of animals pure and simple.

  • Karen Grigg Oct 17, 2016
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    "No such thing as a mainstream Democrat." Are you kidding me? Most Democrats I know do the same thing you do every day- get themselves (and maybe kids) ready for work and school, work all day, come home, cook dinner, do chores, and make sure everyone's homework is done before collapsing in bed. Americans are more similar than different. We all want the best world possible for our kids. We have different ideas as to what that looks like, but when did we start losing our ability to be able to relate to those on the other side of the fence. I keep trying- it doesn't work most of the time, but sometimes I can break through and focus on our shared humanity.

  • Barney Gravel Oct 17, 2016
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    Jim and Pete you need to pay attention to the actions of Mrs. Clinton, not what she says. Further, there is no such thing as a mainstream Democrat, if we are talking America. They are not self reliant and they want a paternalistic entity to take care of them such as a queen, king, dictator or a socialist or communist government. The American concept of freedom and responsibility is beyond them.

  • Barney Gravel Oct 17, 2016
    user avatar

    Domestic terrorism brought to you by the remarks of Obama, "if they bring a knife we will bring a gun." This country is a powder keg. Police being killed, (thanks for supporting Black Lives matter at the DNC convention and in your TV ads, Mrs. Clinton), Muslims killing homosexuals, (as Mrs. Clinton panders to both). Mrs. Clinton championing for the poor and middle class while taking millions from corporations and banks for her charitable trust. It appears as she is the one ready to light the fuse.

  • Karen Orndorff Oct 17, 2016
    user avatar

    People have just gone plain nuts.