Ryan Faircloth faces federal charges of arson and attempted arson
A man seen wearing an American flag bandana as he threw a Molotov cocktail at the headquarters of the Democratic Party’s county office in Austin remained in custody on Saturday, according to prison records.
Ryan Faircloth, 30, was arrested Friday and faces federal charges of arson and attempted arson, according to court documents. The documents didn’t say whether Faircloth had an attorney yet.
Officials said the attack took place at the Travis County Democratic Party headquarters at around 2 a.m. Wednesday and only a small pile of papers caught fire. The fire was doused by the employees of a neighboring businessman.
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According to a complaint filed in federal court by FBI Task Force Officer Ryan Metcalf, investigators received several suggestions after the surveillance video was released. One of the tips led to Fairclothes’ social media.
Information and other evidence found online prompted arson investigators and the FBI to arrest Faircloth, who admitted during interrogation that he made the device and left it in the building, according to the complaint.
“He described using a bottle of wine, gasoline, and a sock to build the device. He acknowledged that gasoline is flammable. He further confirmed his involvement in the incidents,” the complaint said.
Austin Fire arson investigator Captain Jeffrey Dean said Friday that the attack was politically motivated.
“This man was not happy with the current political climate. He blamed this office and the many issues he represents for what he sees as problems with the country,” Dean said. “He was coming and he confessed.”
Officials said in court documents that Faircloth had left a note at the scene that mentioned states and Democratic-majority cities or Democratic federal lawmakers. Then according to a picture in the document, “the one thing you can’t have is Texas,” and “consider this a “light” warning.