Windows of Local GOP Headquarters Shot Out, Chairman Claims ‘Politically Motivated’ Attack

Police in South Daytona, Florida say the windows of the local GOP headquarters were shot out. Capt. Mark Cheatham told Law&Crime over the phone that it occurred some time between 4 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m. this morning. A volunteer arrived and noticed the window was damaged, he said. Officers arrived at the scene, and realized shots had been fired. A total of four shots were confirmed, Cheatham said.

There were no injuries. “Thank God,” he said. But there were no witnesses either. Officers are canvassing local businesses to see if there is any surveillance footage, but they were unable to find any as of Monday afternoon.

Cops are classifying this as vandalism.

Staffers at the Volusia County Republican Party headquarters escorted the Daytona Beach News-Journal through the building, showing smashed windows and bullet holes.

“We have never had any kind of vandalism before at a Republican Headquarters,” Chairman Tony Ledbetter said in an email letter obtained by the outlet. “It’s a small strip center and no other business was vandalized, so it was obviously politically motivated.”

Law&Crime asked Cheatham if cops had any first-hand knowledge of the motivation behind the vandalism, and he said no. He acknowledged the “heightened” political tension over the weekend, but added that the reason behind this particular incident remains unconfirmed.

A Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed in 2016 ahead of the presidential elections. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana, 1st District) and two police officers were wounded in 2017 during a Congressional baseball practice. Authorities identified the shooter as James T. Hodgkinson, who died from gunshot wounds. The suspect’s social media history seemed to show that he was a huge supporter for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and critics of both President Donald Trump and Scalise.

Jewel Dickson, the chair of the Volusia Democratic Party, called the vandalism in Volusia County “appalling.”

“I would not be quick to blame a Democrat for doing that,” she told the News-Journal. “It could be anybody angry.”

Some conservatives said something pretty similar this week after suspicious packages carrying bombs were allegedly mailed to critics of Trump. They suggested it could have been a Democrat working to make Republicans look bad ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. Instead, authorities say it was Cesar Sayoc, a registered Republican according to records obtained by Law&Crime. The social media history linked to him showed that he is a Trump superfan.

The vandalism in Volusia County followed a long week of political and bigoted violence. We’re not just talking about Sayoc’s case. A mass shooting on Saturday took the lives of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The social media history of suspect Robert Bowers showed that though he voiced disdain for Trump, he also echoed and was possibly motivated by a right-wing talking point that Jewish people and Jewish-founded groups were sponsoring the “migrant caravan.”

In Kentucky, Gregory Alan Bush, a white man, allegedly killed two black people at a Kroger supermarket. Federal authorities are investigating this as a possible hate crime.

[Screengrab via Patricio Balona for the Daytona News Beach-Journal]

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