Two senior volunteers working inside the Spokane County Democrats office Wednesday morning say a man barged in and handed them a piece of paper before telling them he was ready to blow up the office.
A witness reported the man handing her a manifesto that appeared to be filled with political remarks, reports NBC’s KHQ-TV.
“I don’t want to hurt you. I do have a bomb. Please read this manifesto and share it widely,” the man said, according to the local Democratic Party chair, Nicole Bishop, who was not in the office at the time.
The suspect appeared to have started a fire inside the office, the Spokesman-Review reported.
The organization’s offices were significantly damaged by the blaze, Bishop said.
Before police arrived, the two women, and a man who later came to help, managed to de-escalate the situation.
The unidentified man making the threat was arrested by the Spokane Police Department after he left the office, the local paper reported. Police later said they did not find an explosive device and have not given any details about a motive behind the incident.
Leaders of the Spokane County Democrats told The Washington Post they’re certain the attack was politically motivated.
“This is the first time in my memory of the party that there’s been such a credible threat that has been carried out,” Bishop said.
“Anyone expressing or working on political issues should not be subject to violence in any way,” said Tina Podlodowski, the chair of the Washington state Democratic Party, in an interview Wednesday. “Sadly, Democratic Party organizations have been subject to this sort of harassment quite a bit since Donald Trump took office.”
“No one should be targeted with violence because of their political beliefs,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) told the Spokesman-Review. “As I have said many times before, we must all unite in standing against hate and violence of any kind,” she said.
The attack came a day after the Arizona Republican Party asked its followers if they are willing to die for the cause of overturning the presidential election results, eliciting alarm and criticism from within and outside the GOP.