Terrorist threatens Spokane Democrats with fake bomb, tries to push his political manifesto

Terrorist threatens Spokane Democrats with fake bomb, tries to push his political manifesto

Peter Yeager, the man who walked into Democratic Party headquarters in Spokane, Washington, on Wednesday claimed he had a bomb, and the wires sticking out of his backpack seemed to substantiate that. He also had a manifesto that he was eager to see disseminated in the media.

“He said, ‘I want you to read this,” Shirley Grossman, the 78-year-old party volunteer who first encountered Yeager when she cracked open the door for him and he pushed his way inside, told KHQ news. “I tried to read it and my mind was not working very well obviously. It said something about the Democratic and Republican Party and more stuff. He said, ‘Do you understand what this says?’ And I said ‘No, I can’t get it.’ He took the paper back and said, ‘Is there anybody else there?'”

Yeager then said: “I don’t want to hurt you. I do have a bomb. Please read this manifesto and share it widely.” He held a box with wires running into the backpack. “He was holding the box very gingerly, like he was afraid to set it off,” said Nicole Bishop, the Spokane Democratic Party’s county chair.

When two other people came to de-escalate the situation, the man somehow started a fire in the offices that caused significant damage. Those two then fled the scene, and Yeager left as well, but left behind the backpack with smoke billowing from it.

Police arrived shortly afterward and found the fire set by the man in the offices and extinguished it. According to Spokane Police Corporal Ron Van Tassel, the building was evacuated and a perimeter was established while the bomb squad arrived. Ruby and Division streets were blocked for a few hours. Officers found the man on the streets a few blocks away and arrested him, and identified him today as Yeager, 45, a resident of Grand Coulee. There was no explosive device in the backpack.

Police did not release a copy of the manifesto or explain its contents. However, they did a release a snippet which read: “Although I have profound respect for the grassroots movement of both the Democratic and Republican parties, sharing many of their ideals and values, we will continue domestic operations against their ruling elite as they exist in their current form… long live the Republic.”

Police said Yeager, an Iraq War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, described himself as a “lone wolf” and used Google to find the nearest political office. Yeager told investigators he had been thinking about doing something radical for a long time, and that while he had hoped to burn down the building, he didn’t want to hurt anyone, so he tried to get everyone out before starting the fire.

Lorilee Gill, a longtime director of operations for the Spokane Democrats, told The Inlander’s Daniel Walters that their volunteers have always faced a potential threat of violence, particularly around elections.

“We’ve had times where we have to lock the doors and turn the lights off and tell the volunteers, ‘You’re not to sit out on the front desk,'” Gill recalled of the days when party headquarters were downtown. “I’ve been down there at midnight doing PDC reporting, and I’d had someone in the parking lot flashing their highs at me. … Doing my civic duty should not be putting you in jeopardy. It should not be putting me in harm’s way.”

“We are so relieved that no one was harmed in this reprehensible act of violence,” read a joint statement from Bishop and Washington state Democratic chair Tina Podlodowski. “Our primary concern is for the safety of our volunteers and the broader community of Spokane. We urge every elected official and community leader to join us in condemning this apparently politically motivated act of violence. No one should have to fear for their life simply because they participate in our political process.”

Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane said in a statement Wednesday evening that she was thankful no one was hurt and that “no one should be targeted with violence because of their political beliefs.”

“As I have said many times before, we must all unite in standing against hate and violence of any kind,” she said.

However, Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, a Republican, declined to release a statement Wednesday. When asked if the mayor had a statement, a spokesperson told the Spokesman Review by email: “No. It’s a law enforcement matter.”

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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