Lawmaker's FW office to reopen after fiery attack

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by CASEY NORTON and STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 10:35 PM

Office attack

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FORT WORTH — Police are trying to identify the man who entered the West 7th office of State Sen. Wendy Davis Tuesday afternoon and threw two firebombs just outside the door.

Two staffers were in the third floor office when the attack occurred around 4 o'clock. One of them had to leap over the flames to escape, then went to the break room, grabbed an extinguisher and put out the fire.

No one was hurt, but the lawmaker's office was damaged by the fire.

Investigators said Sen. Davis was at her law office closer to downtown Fort Worth at the time of the incident. She was kept in lockdown by Department of Public Safety officers for four hours for her own protection.

She called the attack alarming, scary and violent, and Davis said she believes it was meant to cause serious harm.

"They did have a suspect that did flee the scene," said Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Capt. Tom Crow. "I believe he was chased by a maintenance man, but he was not caught."

The damage inside Davis' office was minimal. The senator is a Democrat and former Fort Worth City Council member, but investigators said it is still unclear whether the attack was politically motivated.

"I will continue to stand very strong for the things that I've been working on and believe in, and know our community believes in: Public education, job creation, and women's health care have been in the top of so many peoples' minds," she said, adding that the incident brought back memories of the violent assault on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.

"It's a sad but true fact of public service that we have to feel concern sometimes for our personal safety," Davis said. "But we can't let that stop us."

Fort Worth police and fire investigators are trying to learn more about the suspect and and what may be the motive behind the attack. Arson investigators removed canisters and bags filled with evidence from the building.

Sen. Davis said her office will reopen for business on Wednesday morning, and security at her law office was also tightened as a result of what happened on Tuesday afternoon.

"It's unfortunate when things like this happen in the public arena, and it reminds us of how important it is for us to remain very civil in our discourse," Davis said.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com and sstoler@wfaa.com

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