Police in Hillsborough, North Carolina, are investigating the suspected firebombing and vandalism of a Republican Party office overnight, local officials said.
It appears that a bottle filled with flammable substance was thrown through a front window of the Orange County GOP offices, according to a statement from the Hillsborough government. The substance ignited inside the office, burning some furniture and damaging the building's interior before going out, the statement said.
An adjacent building was also vandalized with graffiti including a swastika and the words "Nazi Republicans leave town or else," which was discovered and reported this morning by another business owner, the statement said.
No damage estimates are available yet, and Hillsborough police are investigating along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the statement said.
Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina, called the incident "a horrific attack of political terrorism" and is asking that all county GOP offices in the state close voluntarily when the sun goes down tonight.
The device landed on a couch where people usually sit, Woodhouse said, adding that it was a good thing nobody was there at the time. The offices will be open Monday, he said.
North Carolina Republican Party spokeswoman Kami Mueller tweeted photos of the damage, saying "Firebomb through window that said "freedom speaks" at orange co gop. This will not deter good people from exercising their rights."
"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."
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory called the incident "an attack on our democracy."
"The firebombing of a local political headquarters in Orange County is clearly an attack on our democracy," McCrory said in a statement released this evening. "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."
The North Carolina Democratic Party also condemned the attack.
"Violence has no place in our political system," North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever said in a statement. We hope the perpetrators are brought to swift justice and we are thankful no one was hurt. Our deepest sympathies are with everyone at the North Carolina Republican Party."