CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina Governor McCrory announced Wednesday that he is offering a reward of up to $5000 for information on the Orange County Republican Party headquarters firebombing.
"The firebombing of a local political headquarters was clearly an act of intimidation and I'm going to do everything I can to find the individual or individuals who committed this assault on our democracy," said the governor.
"I remain committed to using every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation."
Officials say someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid through the window of the Hillsborough Republican Headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina, Sunday morning. Luckily no one was inside, but as the sun came up Sunday, the damage was clear.
The Associated Press reported that the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char and a couch was burned down to its springs. They said shattered glass covered the floor and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering.
Also found at the scene, a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else” spray painted on the side of the building.
"The incident has gained national attention. Both presidential candidates responded to the incident on Twitter. Hillary Clinton tweeting that she was thankful no one was hurt in the attack.
The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 16, 2016
But presidential candidate Donald Trump responded with a different tone, tweeting:
Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
J. Michael Bitzer, who’s a political analyst and political science professor at Catawba College, says it’s that kind of anger that may have fueled the fire.
“The rhetoric has just been so heated and so escalated on both sides that unfortunately this kind of violent rhetoric leads to violent action,” said Bitzer.
After the attack, a group of democrats started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the GOP office’s repairs. According to the organizer, the page raised its $10,000 goal in just 40 minutes.
“For some folks, they’re recognizing that yes, you can have your political differences, but when it comes to issues like attacks on facilities, that we’re all North Carolinians and that ultimately were all Americans,” said Bitzer.
Police continue to search for answers regarding this case. In addition to local numbers, the FBI also will take tip calls at 704-672-6100. Callers should select option 2 to report suspicious activity or a possible federal crime.