Office of WA lawmaker targeted by attempted ‘arson’ says House Minority leader
Jun 14, 2022, 9:52 AM | Updated: 12:02 pm
An office building run by Washington State House Representative Andrew Barkis was vandalized Monday morning when two masked men smashed a window and threw a lit flare into the building.
Security footage from a Ring camera at the location posted by fellow representative and House minority leader J.T. Wilcox shows the men approach the building at 4:04 a.m. before using a hammer to destroy the window and then light a flare.
Early this morning a window was smashed and a lit flare was tossed into the office of my seatmate, Andrew Barkis. The building also houses the office of the House Republican election campaign. Fortunately, the flare landed on a masonry floor and the building survived. pic.twitter.com/pkdc7g0uiV
— Rep. JT Wilcox (@jtwilcox111) June 13, 2022
“I think that this is clearly targeted, I don’t think it would be easy to make a case that this was a random event,” Wilcox said citing the use of a ‘hammer and flare which he says ‘people don’t just have on them.’
The building served as office space for Barkis’ business, Hometown Property Management Inc., along with having space leased out to the House Republican Organizational Committee.
According to Wilcox the flare “landed on a masonry floor and went out there without catching the building on fire,” a lucky break considering that the men were “clearly trying to do damage.”
This is not confirmed by the Olympia Police Department, who are still investigating the crime along with its connection to another break-in that occurred nearby at Lighthouse antiques at 4:23 a.m. where both suspects were also caught on camera.
Retail theft can sometimes be connected to unrelated crimes nearby that are just set to cause a distraction according to detective Paul Lower with the Olympia PD.
The actions were condemned by both Republicans and Democrats across the state, including Washington Governor Jay Inslee who retweeted the security footage of the events.
“Such attempts at violence are abhorrent,” Inslee commented along with the video. “We’re thankful no one was hurt. Hopefully, law enforcement is able to identify these individuals before they inflict any more harm.”
This comes five days after a shooting in Centralia Wash. that occurred outside of State Representative Peter Abbarno’s home, where a “paranoid and very delusional” suspect allegedly fired three shots in the air to “scare” other drivers
The event was likely not targeting Abbarno according to Wilcox and the police report released about the shooting.
Both incidents are being investigated by Washington State Patrol, and Wilcox sent an email to his Republican colleagues to ‘keep an eye out’ for their families in case more attacks continue.
“I wouldn’t pay that much attention to it except now I’ve got two House Republican members around an arson and a shooting in one week,” Wilcox said.