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Molotov cocktail and threatening note thrown in Austin's Democratic Party office

A man tried to send the Travis County Democratic Party's office into flames last Wednesday morning with a poorly-made Molotov cocktail, according to Austin Fire Department's Brandon Jennings. (Pixabay)

An unidentified man was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail and "threatening note" into the Travis County Democratic Party's East Sixth Street office early Wednesday morning in an apparent attempt to set the historic building on fire.

The incendiary device, which the Austin Fire Department arson and fire investigations captain Brandon Jennings said was a "commercial grade smoke bomb" in a press conference, did not explode. While some papers did ignite, employees from a nearby bar were able to put out the flame. No one was working in the building during the attack.

Police have begun an arson investigation and are looking for a man wearing an American flag bandanna that was caught on video and at around 2 a.m. that night. According to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, the FBI is also involved and is calling the incident a "credible threat."

The video, which will later be released to the public, shows the suspect circling around the building before tossing a projectile and incendiary device into the building.

The Travis County Democratic Party later called the crime an "act of terror" and said that the undisclosed note had a politically motivated "threatening" message.

Anyone who wears an American flag as a bandana and then throws a Molotov cocktail... into a building and leaves a note, a threatening note, is a coward," Chairwoman Katie Naranjo said.

The attempted arson appears to be linked to another "vandalism incident" that occurred a few hours later downtown at the Granger Building, which is home to the Travis County Attorney's Office.

According to Austin Fire Department arson and fire investigations captain Brandon Jennings, footage from that incident could help track down the suspect.

The incident is reminiscent of last year when the Democratic Party's Austin site was also damaged in a vandalism crime.

Jennings said that the arson was a direct result of the White House invasion of early 2021.

"What we've seen on January 6, 2021, to now there's been continued aggression and escalation of violence against Democratic parties as well as institutions of government," Naranjo said. "Those people are cowards. They're far-right extremists. This is an act of terror."


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