Man threw ‘Molotov cocktail’ into Travis County Democrats’ office
A man wearing a bandana depicting the American flag threw an incendiary device into the Travis County Democratic Party office on East Sixth Street on Wednesday morning, Austin Fire Department officials said.
Austin firefighters and police responded to the office around 2 a.m. Thursday after receiving a 911 call regarding the blaze. Neighbors were able to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived, Austin Fire Captain Brandon Jennings said.
Investigators looked at security camera footage that Travis County Democrats installed last year after a similar attack, said Kate Naranjo, chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party.
Jennings said the footage showed a man – wearing black shorts, black and gray tennis shoes and a gray t-shirt with a face mask and a bandana – walking around the building then picking up a projectile, possibly a stone .
The man threw the object at the building once, but nothing broke. He threw it a second time, which broke the door to the building.
The man then placed the incendiary device inside the building and the fire started. But Jennings said the device that was placed did not catch fire. A stack of papers was set on fire and a smoke bomb was left behind, he said.
“It’s very common with us. It’s known to the public most often as a Molotov cocktail,” Jennings said of the device.
Naranjo said a threatening note, with political content, was left at the scene.
No employees were in the building at the time of the incident and the damage to the building is minimal, she said.
Back in 2020:Travis County Democratic Party headquarters vandalized, officials say
Previously, in November 2020, vandals struck, damaging the windows, exterior walls and doors of Travis County Democratic Party headquarters. Graffiti had been written in red on the exterior walls of the building. A message read: “The working class can only have one party. Another sign read, “Restore the Communist Party. “
No staff or volunteers were in the building during the 2020 incident and no items were stolen from the building, authorities said at the time.
The man linked to Wednesday’s fire is also suspected of vandalizing the Ned Granger building, which houses the Travis County administrative offices downtown. Two hours after the fire, the man was caught on camera outside the Granger building.
Jennings did not describe the type of vandalism committed. Texas Department of Public Safety officials are working with Austin firefighters on the vandalism incident.
Anyone with more information about the incident or the person involved is urged to call the Austin Fire Investigation Office at 512-974-0240.