HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The FBI has gathered evidence from the firebombing of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters and is analyzing it at their lab in Quantico Virginia, police announced Monday.
The announcement came hours after Hillsborough police released a 911 call made after the offices were firebombed early Sunday morning.
“Someone has firebombed through the window of the Republican Party,” the caller reported. “I’m not going over there and stick my head in the window but I smell smoke and you can see where it did smoke up inside.
The building at 347 Ja-Max Drive was hit with graffiti and “flammable material” in a bottle was thrown through a window starting a fire inside, Hillsborough police said.
Graffiti that said “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” was spray painted in black paint on the side of a building next to the Republican headquarters, according to police.
Police believe the vandalism occurred between midnight at 8:54 a.m. Sunday.
“They threw some sort of firebomb through the window because it smoked up under the porch and all around the window frame,” the caller said. “I can smell smoke, so obviously it went out on its own or didn’t work well, but it is some sort of incendiary device.”
Listen to the redacted 911 call
Officials also said Monday afternoon that the U.S. Secret Service is providing support in the investigation. The FBI has given the evidence from the firebombing a high priority, but they don’t have a time frame for results, police said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating the incident.
“I’m appreciative of our law enforcement expertise and cooperation across agencies to uncover who is behind this reprehensible act,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said. “Especially given the national attention we are receiving, I’m extremely appreciative for everybody who is using this as an opportunity to pull our community together, rather than promote division.”
Orange County GOP chairman Daniel Ashley believes the fire was politically motivated.
“Some despicable people that are trying to infringe on our right to speak, our right to pick and choose the party that we choose to belong to,” Ashley said.
On Sunday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pointed blame at Democrats for the attack.
“Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning,” he wrote on Twitter.
Minutes later, Trump indicated that everyone was safe and added in a Tweet, “With you all the way, will never forget. Now we have to win. Proud of you all!”
All North Carolina Republican offices were asked to close Sunday night while officials evaluate the situation to determine if there is a continued threat, officials said Sunday evening.
Party officials released a statement that said, in part:
“Whether you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy,” said Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Tips can also be left anonymously through the town’s website or by calling 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, police said.