During the twilight hours of Wednesday morning, the Austin Fire Department was called to the Travis County Democratic Party headquarters in Austin, Texas in response “to an incident involving the ‘use of an incendiary device.’”
Security cameras in place captured footage of a man “wearing a gray shirt with black shorts, black and gray tennis shoes with an American flag bandana on his head” loitering around the building before throwing a rock at the window on the front door, and then throwing a Molotov cocktail inside the building. Police are using security footage to conduct a manhunt for the suspect.
A note was also found on the scene, which contained a “politically motivated threat.” Fortunately, the Molotov cocktail did not ignite and no one was in the office at the time. Additionally, an adjacent business’s employees using a fire extinguisher were able to rapidly put out the fire that had beset a small stack of papers.
Travis County Democratic Party (TCDP) Chairwoman Katie Naranjo said, “Anyone who wears an American flag as a bandanna and then throws a Molotov cocktail … into a building and leaves a note, a threatening note, is a coward.” Naranjo added, “I wanna make something very clear though…This was an attack…What the individual tried to do last night was light a fire of hate and terror and threatening and intimidation behavior.”
Texans are facing an array of conservative measures, from its highly restrictive abortion ban to voter suppression. In the past year, the TCDP headquarters in the state’s capital has been sabotaged twice, the first being graffiti last November, but yesterday’s instance marks a clear escalation in tactics.
According to arson investigator Brandon Jennings, approximately two hours after the fire broke out, the Travis County Ned Granger Administration Building, a government edifice which is home to the Travis County Attorney’s Office, was subsequently vandalized. The two incidents are suspected to be connected.