Arsonist caught on video tossing Molotov cocktail into Texas Democrats’ office

‘Anyone who wears an American flag as a bandana, and then throws a Molotov cocktail with fireworks into a building, and leaves a threatening note, is a coward,’ says Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party

Nathan Place
New York
Thursday 30 September 2021 16:38
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A masked arsonist threw a Molotov cocktail into a local Democratic Party headquarters in Texas, fire officials say.

Surveillance video shows the man, wearing a mask and an American flag bandana over most of his head, approaching the Travis County Democratic Party’s office at about 2am on Wednesday, carrying what appears to be a bottle with some cloth or paper sticking out of it. Minutes later, he throws something at the office, and there is an explosion inside, causing a small fire.

Austin Fire Department officials say by the time they got to the scene, employees from a nearby business had already put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

AFD captain Brandon Jennings told KXAN the damage could have been much worse, but luckily the “incendiary device” malfunctioned.

“It does appear that there were some papers or something … that were also lit on fire, but the actual device that was thrown or placed did not ignite,” Mr Jennings said.

The AFD’s arson department is investigating the incident, he added.

Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, said no staff were harmed during the incident, and only “minimal damage” was done to the building.

She did say, however, that this appeared to be a politically motivated attack, as evidenced by a “threatening note” left near the building.

“We will not be intimidated, and we will not be threatened by any individual who takes such a cowardly act as to attack a democratic institution,” Ms Naranjo said at a press conference. “Anyone who wears an American flag as a bandana, and then throws a Molotov cocktail with fireworks into a building, and leaves a threatening note, is a coward.”

On Thursday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported that the FBI is treating the attack and letter as a “credible threat”.

Ms Maddow said the exact content of the letter has not been released, but sources had told her the gist of it.

“The note says, in essence: This is a warning, this will continue to happen, because Democrats can keep states like New York and California, but not Texas,” she said.

Ms Naranjo, in an appearance on Ms Maddow’s show, said that she had a message for the attacker.

“Democrats in Texas are unafraid,” she said. “You will not silence us.”

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