A person with a gun fired at least four bullets into a Republican party bureau In Florida, officials said on Monday that political violence had risen ahead of the midterm elections.
The Republican Party office in South Daytona was empty at the time of the shooting and nobody was injured, South Daytona Police Capt. Mark Cheatham told the Washington Post.
A volunteer arrived Monday morning at headquarters, which is located in a small shopping center, and found that a front window was broken to pieces. The police found that the window had been shot through after finding four bullets in the office, in the wall and on the floor, Cheatham said.
The police believe the shootings took place between 4pm and 6pm. Sunday, the last time a person was in the office, and 9am on Monday, Cheatham said. Photos of the office, which has been put online by reporters, show that its windows have signs supporting the Republican Party and GOP candidates.
Cheatham said the office has not confirmed any motive or identified a suspect in the filming and has not yet found any evidence or witnesses to any video.
The shooting follows high-profile events of politically motivated violence expressed concern about whether the country's bitter rift has become something more evil.
Last week, Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida man, was arrested after officials sent 13 bombs to 13 prominent Democrats, presidential critics, Trump and media organizations. And on Saturday, a gunman identified by officials as Robert Bowers killed 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, apparently motivated by bigotry and belief in conspiracies about immigration.
Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Republican Party of Volusia County, told the post office that he was accusing the Democrats for shooting in the office.
"These are the only people who would do that," he said, offering no evidence. "The sick democrats."
Cheatham said the police will reinforce patrols around the Republican Both the bureau and the local democratic outpost in the city.
Jewel Dickson, leader of the Volusia Democratic Party, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that shooting was "horrific."
"It's a sign that something is going wrong," she said. "I would not swiftly blame a Democrat for it – anyone could be angry."
"An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, and everyone should feel safe to participate in our democracy," she said in a statement . Ledbetter said volunteers in the office, who were conducting voter turnouts before the midterm elections next week, would be back to work, even though he intended to arrange 24-hour armed security through the election.
"We're not going anywhere," said Ledbetter. "We're building up a piece of plywood."
About six to eight people work shifts in the office, he said. Ledbetter said he believes the shooting took place at night and said he was skeptical that the police would ever find a suspect.
"You'll never find out who did that," he said. "This is a small complex; there were no cameras out there – nothing to take anything."
He said he plans to install surveillance cameras for future elections.
"My idea of courtesy is to go for a ballot and if you do not win, suck it up and home," he said.
Approximately 55 percent of Volusia County voters voted for Trump in 2016.
Democratic Republican Deputy Patrick Henry, representing the area, condemned the shooting in a statement reporter .
"After one of the deadliest 72 hours in America, I'm angry that shots were fired at a Republican field office in my district," he said. "Your party affiliation should never make you the target of gun violence."
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