Hillsborough police are still seeking your help as they attempt to identify the person – or the people – responsible for this weekend’s firebombing of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters.
Police Chief Duane Hampton says his office has been working exclusively on this case since Sunday morning; police have interviewed “many” potential witnesses, and investigators from the FBI are now working on the case as well.
The firebombing was first reported at 8:54 on Sunday morning; investigators believe it happened sometime after midnight, but it could have been anywhere in that nine-hour window. A “bottle containing flammable material” was thrown through the window of the office; it ignited inside the office and did considerable smoke and fire damage. The perpetrators also spray-painted a swastika and the words “NAZI REPUBLICANS LEAVE TOWN OR ELSE” on the outside of a nearby building. (Despite the hateful graffiti, officials currently say the firebombing may not legally count as a ‘hate crime’ under federal law – but that’s still under investigation too.)
WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke Monday with Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.
If you have any information that could help investigators make an arrest, there are several ways of contacting authorities:
Contact Hillsborough Investigator Jon Purvis at this link or by phone at 919-732-9381, ext. 37.
Report information anonymously through the town’s website.
Call the Hillsborough Police Department’s tip line at 919-732-3975. The phone line is routed directly to voicemail and does not record callers’ phone numbers.
Contact the FBI at 704-672-6100. Select Option 2 to report suspicious activity or a possible federal crime.http://chapelboro.com/featured/hillsborough-police-still-seeking-gop-hq-attacker
Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone firebombed the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough.
“Words cannot describe the emotions you feel when you see something like this,” said North Carolina GOP chair Dallas Woodhouse, speaking to reporters on Sunday after the attack was discovered. “There’s a sign there that says ‘Freedom Speaks’ – and that’s where a significant Molotov cocktail, bomb, some sort of device went in.”
Hillsborough police say the incident took place between 9:00 Saturday night and 9:00 Sunday morning: someone threw a bottle filled with “flammable material” through the window of the office, which is located in the Shops at Daniel Boone just off Old NC-86. According to police, the substance ignited inside the building, burning furniture and doing other damage before going out.
In addition to the firebomb, the perpetrator also spray-painted a swastika on the side of an adjacent building, along with the words “NAZI REPUBLICANS LEAVE TOWN OR ELSE.”
The bombing wasn’t discovered until a nearby business owner arrived around 9:00 Sunday morning. Fortunately, although the damage to the building was significant, Woodhouse says nobody was injured.
“We’ve been praying all day, thankful to the Lord that nobody was in there at the time,” he said Sunday.
And while the attack has left everyone at GOP headquarters shaken, Woodhouse says it won’t affect their resolve.
“This is a horrific act of political terrorism, one that we will not succumb to and one that we will answer,” he said Sunday.
“When people try to stifle freedom of speech, you must come back with more speech.”
Hillsborough police are investigating along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; officials are still working to assess the damage. In the meantime, local and state officials are weighing in with statements universally condemning Saturday night’s attack. (Read some of those statements below.)
As for the Orange County Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse says they won’t be moved by cowardly attacks – so this week will be business as usual.
“We’ll be helping people fill out absentee ballot requests, we’ll register voters for the next elections – but we’ll be open for business at the normal time,” he said Sunday. “We will not be intimidated, we will not be cowed, and we will not be scared.
“We are not going anywhere.”
If you have any information about Saturday night’s attack, please contact Hillsborough Police Investigator Jon Purvis at this link or by phone at 919-732-9381, ext. 37.
You can also leave anonymous tips – either online at the town’s website or by calling the Hillsborough PD’s tip line, 919-732-3975. The phone line is routed directly to voicemail and does not record callers’ phone numbers.
WCHL’s Jeff Hamlin made significant contributions to this story.
Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens:
“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. 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.”
Orange County Board of Commissioners (joint statement via board chair Earl McKee):
“The attack on the Orange County Republican Party headquarters early Sunday morning is a despicable act. The Orange County Board of Commissioners expresses its outrage that such an event could occur here or anywhere. We are grateful no one was injured in this senseless act. Orange County is an inclusive, welcoming community that values all viewpoints and perspectives. Our political process must be conducted without fear of reprisals or repression, or we risk undermining all the principles of freedom we hold dear.”
Governor Pat McCrory:
“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.”
U.S. Congressman David Price:
“I am deeply disturbed by today’s 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.”
Pictured: N.C. General Assembly
ORANGE COUNTY – Throughout this entire legislative session, critics of the General Assembly have been outspoken against its Republican leadership. We’ve shared the liberal perspective on the legislature, but it’s been difficult to get a conservative perspective in Orange County.
WCHL has reached out to Stephen Xavier, Chair of the Orange County Republican Party, several times.
Dave Carter, a Republican who challenged Senator Ellie Kinnaird in the 2012 election to represent the 23rd district, shares his thoughts as this controversial legislative session comes to end.
“They’ve [the General Assembly] been all over the road. They’ve done some things I would view as progressive, which I am not a fan of. I’m not a fan of the ultraconservative crazies either,” Carter says. “And I see the current legislature, like the last legislature, and the legislature for the last 12 years that I have been following, they are driving all over the road. Sometimes they pull the wheel left, and sometimes they open their eyes and they are going to the extreme right.”
Carter doesn’t consider himself a moderate, but leans more toward Libertarian ideals.
He says he gives this General Assembly a grade of a “C.”
“They talk up a good thing, but they get all carried away with minutia. They are really not doing the things that they said they would do.”
Others, including the Moral Monday protesters, would not have so gracious an estimation of the Legislature. Each week since late April, protesters, led by NAACP State Chapter President, Reverend William Barber, have gathered in Raleigh to rally against what they call “regressive policies.”
“The Moral Monday stuff seems very fabricated, like it is almost backed by corporate sponsors,” Carter says. “I kind of expect to see Reverend Barber walking around with a big sign on the back of his shoulder, like you’d see a football player, saying sponsored by whomever.”
More than 900 people have been arrested inside the General Assembly as part of the Moral Monday protests.
“It’s like ‘Go get arrested and we can say: Look, we have 80 people arrested!’ That’s not civil disobedience; it is proving it with quota kind of stuff,” Carter says.
Activists were outraged recently when tighter abortion regulations swept through the General Assembly with little public notice, tacked onto unrelated bills.
“I know that there was recent brouhaha over the abortion stuff,” he said. “I think it was kind of tricky for them [Republican lawmakers] to do what they did, using rules in their own special way. They followed the rules, but they did it in a tricky way, and I think they could have been a little bit more transparent on that.”
Carter, who remains active in the Orange County Republican Party, says he’s entertained the idea of running again, but nothing is definite at this point.