Democratic Party Office in Texas Attacked by Man With Molotov Cocktail

A hunt is underway for a man who threw a suspected Molotov cocktail into the Travis County Democratic Party headquarters in Texas.

The Austin Fire Department said it had responded to an incident involving the "use of an incendiary device" at the building on 1311 East 6th Street at around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

Neighbors were able to put out the flames with fire extinguishers. Surveillance footage provided to Newsweek shows the suspect approaching the office carrying a bottle with a rag sticking out of the top. His face is covered by an American flag bandana.

The man throws what appears to be a rock to break the window before placing the incendiary device inside the building and fleeing. A short while later, neighbors can be seen extinguishing the blaze.

The building was only partially damaged and no one was inside at the time.

Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, said a threatening note, which was political in its context, was also left at the scene.

"I want to make something very clear, this was an attack," Naranjo said during a press conference outside the building.

"The Democratic Party believes in free speech, believes in your right to vote, and we will not be intimidated and we will not be threatened by any individual who will take such a cowardly act as to attack a democratic institution," Naranjo added.

"What the individual tried to do last night was light a fire of hate, terror and threatening—and intimidation—behavior.

"The only thing he did was light a fire for us to continue our call to tell people that they have a right to vote, [that it] is their duty to vote, is their ability to exercise their voice and participate in their democracy."

Officials are looking into the possibility that the suspect also vandalized the Ned Granger Building, which houses Travis County administrative offices, on the same night, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The government building in downtown Austin had one of its windows smashed, reported CBS Austin.

The Travis County Democratic Party headquarters were previously targeted by vandals in November 2020, when its front windows were smashed and graffiti was sprayed on the exterior walls.

Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Naranjo delivered another message to the man who attacked their office.

"Democrats in Texas are unafraid. We have fought my entire life and for generations for the rights of Black, brown, yellow, Hispanic, Asian and white Americans to vote. We're fighting for your vote too, and we're fighting for our rights to free speech."

She added: "There are more of us than you. You represent a small minority of hateful right-wing extremists.

"I represent teachers, students, health care workers, small business owners, union members, artists and everyone in our community. Because we are going to stand together, united.

"We are one Travis County, we're one Democratic Party but, more importantly, we are one state and one country devoted to the democratic process of our right to vote."

Austin Police have been contacted for comment.

Travis County Democratic Party HQ
The suspect spotted with an incendiary device outside the Travis County Democratic Party Headquarters before the fire started. Travis County Democratic Party