News & Politics

Shots Fired into GOP Campaign Office in South Daytona Beach

Republican Party headquarters in Daytona Beach damaged after gunfire. Image via Volusia County Republican Party's Facebook.

In what some in the media are calling an act of “vandalism,” a Republican office in South Daytona Beach, Florida, was damaged overnight Sunday when someone shot at least four bullets into the windows, shattering glass and toppling campaign posters. Luckily, no one was in the office during the attack.

Tony Ledbetter, the chairman of Volusia County’s Republican Party, blamed Democrats for the political terrorism.

“There’s four bullet holes in our windows and four bullet holes inside the building,” Ledbetter said. “You’ve got some sick person, and I’ll call them out, they’re Democrats. No Republican has any reason to come attack our location.”

Ledbetter suggested that the culprit probably decided to express his or her anger at the GOP with violence.

“We’re just manning early voting locations, passing out Republican voter guides, and encouraging people to vote Republican, and some Democrats just have a problem with that,” he said.

Via the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

South Daytona police Capt. Mark Cheatham said his department is investigating the shooting. “At this point we can confirm that at least four rounds were fired into the building,” he said. So far, there are no witnesses or suspects.

Increased police patrols have been ordered for the area of the GOP headquarters in South Daytona. Investigators are also trying see if the strip mall had videos as they have not been able to find witness to the incident.

“The bullets entered low and then went high inside the office making us think they were fired from a car, but it’s something we are looking at,” Cheatham said.

Ledbetter said he was the last to leave the GOP headquarters at 4 p.m. Sunday and workers in the adjacent businesses, including an e-cigarette store, a restaurant and a massage business, had closed by 10 p.m. No one heard shots fired and there were no injuries.

South Daytona police Capt. Mark Cheatham said the shooting incident happened between 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday morning.

The broken windows of the office were boarded up Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Republican state Rep. Tom Leek blamed current toxic political environment for the incident:

“The state of our political discourse in America is an embarrassment to all parties and those involved in the political process,” Leek said.  “Neither Democrats nor Republicans own the high ground on this issue. Sooner or later, both parties are going to have to stop suffering idiots within their own party, and cast them out on their own.”

Jewel Dickson, the Volusia Democratic Party chair, said Monday that political organizations on both sides have been taking precautions this year.

“Our reaction is, it’s appalling,” she told the News-Journal. “It’s a sign of things going wrong. … I would not be quick to blame a Democrat for doing that,” Dickson added. “It could be anybody angry.”

In a longer statement, Dickson said the attempted violence had “no place in Florida, and no place in politics.”

State Rep Patrick Henry also condemned the violence in a statement:

Gov. Rick Scott voiced a similar message: “Glad everyone at the Volusia County Republican headquarters is okay and that no one was inside when the shooting happened. Violence of any kind does not belong in our state and I appreciate law enforcement’s quick response to keep these Floridians safe,” he said.

The News-Journal points out that the shooting comes on the heels of two politically motivated attacks: the South Florida man who allegedly sent more than a dozen packages containing “bombs” to Democratic leaders across the country, and the anti-Semitic shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left eleven people dead.

This attack also comes on the heels of a number of other attacks on Republicans in recent weeks, including  two Republican candidates assaulted by violent leftists in Minnesota; a threatening letter claiming to be laced with ricin sent to Senator Susan Collins’ home in Bangor, Maine; multiple GOP offices vandalized; a Soros-funded tracker assaulting a female Republican campaign worker in Nevada; a Democrat’s profane and intimidating confrontation with a female Republican opponent in Arkansas; and a North Carolina Democrat’s crushing handshake with a 75-year-old Republican campaign volunteer.