Reports surfaced Monday that an individual with a gun fired at least four shots into a Republican Party office in Volusia County, Florida at some point during the previous night. Volunteer officials arrived at the office on Monday morning to find their front window shattered; police later discovered four bullets inside the office, embedded in the wall and floors. The offices are located in a small strip mall in South Daytona.
Tony Ledbetter of the Volusia County Republican Party wasted no time accusing political opponents of launching the attack.
“That’s the only people who would do this,” he told the Washington Post. “The sick Democrats.”
Jewel Dickson, chairperson of the Volusia Democratic Party, told the local Daytona Beach News-Journal that she was not so sure about that.
“It’s a sign of things going wrong,” she said. “I would not be quick to blame a Democrat for doing that. It could be anybody angry.”
Right, right. We’re sure the Volusia County Democratic Party will find a way to blame Trump for inspiring this through his anti-GOP comments from the campaign. After all, anything that goes wrong in America is now the fault of the president.
But in remarks to the News-Journal, Ledbetter said that while he had no doubts about the political affiliation of the perpetrator, he wasn’t surprised given the hostilities growing between two opposing ideologies and cultures.
“It’s a small strip center and no other business was vandalized, so it was obviously politically motivated,” he said. “In 2018, this is a much tougher election cycle because this is not adversaries, this is not just Democrats and Republicans fighting about election day. This is sick people that who want to come out and bust windows and shoot bullet holes in my windows. It’s crazy.”
Other politicians and political organizations in Florida condemned the shooting without taking sides.
“We stand against any type of violence against any volunteer, Republican or Democrat,” said the GOP of Florida. “People should have the right to exercise their right of free speech without fear of retaliation. The RPOF is thankful no one was harmed in this shooting, but we must make one thing clear— violence is NEVER the answer, under any circumstance. Thank you to Volusia County’s law enforcement for their quick response to keep Floridians safe. We will continue our efforts to ensure staff and volunteers feel secure in our offices, despite these concerning events.”
It’s been a hell of a week when it comes to politically-motivated violence, and this comes on the heels of months of high-temperature rhetoric. Hopefully it can cool off a bit heading into winter, because this kind of pipe-bomb mailing, gun shooting, “kick ‘em” when they’re low environment is going nowhere good.