Police arrested 40-year-old Cedric Steele just seven hours after a firebombing on State Senator Wendy Davis' office, saying he is the one who threw six Molotov cocktails at the door of the senator's Fort Worth office. Fire investigators confiscated a paper bag, bottles with what appeared to be lighter fluid inside, and other evidence from the scene. The senator, who was not in her office at the time, told police Steele came to her office on March 16 and March 20 complaining about a taser incident in Michigan, and left part of a dead animal for the senator. Two staff members, who were present for the firebombing, say Steele also said they would soon "read about" him.
Fort Worth police say Steele is the man who threw the firebombs around 4:00 Tuesday afternoon in the 2400 block of West Seventh Street. At 11:00 that night, officers arrested Steele in the 6000 block of Camp Bowie. Investigators then received permission from the owner of a vacant house in the 5600 block of Donnelly Avenue where Steele was living, according to neighbors, for the last three months.
Matthew Jackson, a former Fort Worth police officer, owns the house next door and says he reached out to the city months ago with concerns about the vacant house and Steele's occupancy.
He added, "He would walk up and down Camp Bowie panhandling, and be outside the gym. Even here, he'll come up and panhandle and ask for some more money. You tell him no, he'll probably start cursing a little bit and walk off. A little bit of a demon in him."
Fort Worth police Major Paul Henderson says evidence similar to that at the crime scene, was taken from the vacant home where Steele was staying.
Henderson adds, "It is lighter fluid and the bottles that we recovered are similar to the ones that we recovered in the hallway."
The senator says politics should never come to this, and that people should keep politics clean to avoid such instances of outrage.
Davis said, "We have to be particularly careful about keeping our conversations about the issues, and stay away from demonizing individuals in a way that might insight these type responses."
Steele is being jailed on a $250,000 bond and faces a charge of arson, with an enhanced penalty, because people were in the building at the time of the alleged attack. He has a criminal history that includes a warrant out of Oklahoma on a battery charge, and several local resisting arrest charges. He could get two to 20 years in prison.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times