Homeless Man Accused of Throwing Molotov Cocktails at State Sen. Wendy Davis' Fort Worth Office

Categories: Crime

Cedric Steele.jpg
Cedric Steele, arrested in Molotov cocktail attack.
On Tuesday night, state Senator Wendy Davis' staff announced that someone had set a small fire outside the door of her Fort Worth office using bottles filled with lighter fluid. The senator wasn't there at the time, and no one else was hurt during the incident, which badly scorched the door of the office. Authorities said a building maintenance worker chased a man from the scene, but was unable to catch him. An arrest was made late last night, but police declined to release the man's name at the time.

Now, the Star-Telegram reports that the man is being identified by police as Cedric Steele, 40, a homeless man who had showed up at the senator's office twice in the previous week, asking to talk to her; Davis said in interviews yesterday that Steele's demeanor at the time led her staff to conclude that he was "probably not stable." The Morning News reports that when he was told Davis was unavailable, he told the staff that they would "soon be reading about him in the news."

Court records show Steele has several previous convictions in Oklahoma and Texas for assault, including a charge in Dallas County for assaulting a family member in December 2006.

After the attack was announced, speculation quickly mounted that Davis had been targeted because of her vocal support for Planned Parenthood. She spoke at a rally in support of the organization just 10 days ago, and has said more than once that she relied on Planned Parenthood for her healthcare as a young single mother. Burnt Orange Report wrote about the incident, which it described as probably "politically motivated," and set up a donation page for her re-election campaign.

The Star-Telegram has also previously reported that Davis recently provoked the ire of Republican candidates at a forum for her support for increasing public school funding. The report says that each time her name was mentioned, there was a "growing chorus of growls and a few boos" from the audience.

In a phone conversation with Unfair Park today, Davis said it was too early to know what Steele's motives might have been for the attack or if they were related to her recent appearance in support of Planned Parenthood. She declined to say what Steele had said to her staff because Fort Worth police asked her and her staff not to publicly discuss too many details about him.

"Probably the most appropriate thing to consider when something like this happens is just that respect for differences of opinion sometimes is absent," Davis told us. "Especially when we're talking about issues like Planned Parenthood. Hopefully, whether this was related to that or not, it's a reminder to us that we should be respectful in our tone and be careful about the choice of words that we use."

Davis also said that she was disturbed by media reports recounting Republican forums where she's been attacked by the candidates. "The way that it's been characterized to me, as it's been recounted, is that in some Republican forums, they're holding me up as this object of hatred, that I must be taken out, that I am the most dangerous thing to their values, is the way they talk about it in the state right now, and that I should be the number one target in the state in the next election cycle."

Davis said she hopes the incident at her office "is a reminder that when we use words and we speak in ways to try to incite negative emotion, that there are consequences to that. We have to mindful of the fact that there are people who may not be as stable as some of us. Using those kinds of emotional pleas, for lack of a better way of saying it, can have a response."

Davis said the Texas Department of Public Safety is talking to her and her staffers about security protocols for the office. "We'll look to them for their guidance," she said. "But we're not intending on becoming a fortress here. We have an open door and we will continue to have an open door. And I'll continue to talk about the things I've been talking about. I don't intend to change my public positions on those issues or to be quiet going forward."

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pencil
pencil

POS hate-mongering on the coat tails of an emotionally disturbed person.

Steve
Steve

Use of Homeless?

Use of Homeless as Internet Hot Spots Backfires on Marketerhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/03...

"In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Treasurer of Illinois. He stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead, printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing", and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon's rally."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K...

Would Wendy's Republican opponents employ deceptive political operatives/use the homeless like Karl Rove?  Surely not!

gladnotsad
gladnotsad

I was thinking along the same lines except that Davis' staff had "met and talked with the man twice.." and she seemed unusually overly prepared in her remarks targeting her ideologic opponents.  Also her telephone interview responses seem a bit detached.  I was thinking that this might be an"inside job" in order to advance her campaign through sympathy + donations (which were clearly the object of the "Burnt Orange" report).  I am familiar with the folks running against Ms. Davis, and I can assure you that they would not be involved with "dirty tricks" involving recruitment of homeless people.

Steve
Steve

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Firebombing Brings out the Best in Wendy Davishttp://eddiegriffinbasg.b...

gladnotsad
gladnotsad

Well, of course, the liberal contingent which dreams up social engineering programs  has had nearly half a century to perfect the legislation described above.   But  I should have known that the (intellectually vagrant), " less polarizing and more complex way" to approach legislative failure with unintended consequences is to get the history and in some cases science completely wrong and then to blame Nixon-Reagan-Bush-Cheney.  Feel better now?

scottindallas
scottindallas

it's not a great solution to incarcerate these people either.  That was what One Flew Over... sought to describe.  Your characterization of this issue is grossly polarized and overly simple.  

gladnotsad
gladnotsad

Misinformation is fairly rampant on this site.  the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 which defunded state mental hospitals was signed into law by President John F Kennedy.  Resources intended for those released from state hospitals under the CMH  program were significantly diminished by the Lyndon Johnson administration by the War on Poverty, the Vietnam war , and the budding Medicare program, and partially restored under NIxon-Ford, The recession under Jimmy Carter saw rising real estate prices and consumer inflation which destabilized the program at a time when the last of the state hospitals closed and the  CMH concept of federal housing for the mentally ill could not be cost effectively implemented. A failed utopian dream with origins and self destruction under Democrat administrations.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 This move started with Nixon, and court cases that said that these people have some rights and freedoms.  Reagan finished this move, but it started earlier than the myth would allow

gladnotsad
gladnotsad

"In fall of 1970"....betrays you.  Homelessness and homeless shelters were not a cultural known entity in 1970. having emerged as a result of the legislatively mandated release of mentally ill from state hospitals to SRO (single room only) habitats (which were a utopian failure) throughout the 1970's.. don't take literally everything that you read on Wikipedia.Maybe you are as "confused" as the  alleged firebomber.

Albert
Albert

Time to boycott Rush's advertisers

gladnotsad
gladnotsad

Yea-- they can all line up for the" Sandra Fluke  Radio Show"

Holman
Holman

His advertisers learned a bitter lesson on what happens when you boycott your benefactor (ha!).

Albert
Albert

That is so last week anyway...

Larry
Larry

You people seriously think this guy was fired up by political rhetoric and that led to his attack?  I doubt this man knew anything about her politics or the opposition's politics.  She is just grandstanding, overstating the ugliness of the politcal rhetoric against her, and ignoring the fact that the real motivation could have been something as simple as a mentally-ill homeless man being rebuffed.  Faced with the facts, she still links herself to Giffords and stumps about what might be going on in Republican forums, which I am sure this man was a regular visitor of!

wmreed3
wmreed3

Gee whiz, wonder if he's connected to the ass holes that fire bombed the Guv's Mansion a ways back. GOOO Black Power!!!!

Guest
Guest

 I'm pretty sure that, by his own admission, Rick Perry is responsible for that (his public theory is that if you're an asshole and your house burns down, then you've committed arson).

Paul
Paul

Wow, I wish that the police had been this effective when my truck had been stolen/wife's van had been sideswiped/storage unit burglarized.

Why all the folderol?  They should have just given her the police report number so that she could file a claim with her insurance company for the damages.

I wonder if they found dog doo in the bag?

pencil
pencil

He can't be a Republican, he's black!

Holman
Holman

Her staffers immediately identified him as a creepy homeless guy who'd showed up twice before, yet the good congresswoman invoked evile Republican extremists, set up a re-election collection plate, decried women's rights, then refused to back off the assertion.  She knew who this guy was:

A registered voter bought with a few packs of Marlboros.  

man-o-man.

pbluett
pbluett

Relax Ms. Davis, like Bill Maher, this guy is just a "comedian".

Phelps
Phelps

Exactly.  She knew what his issue was (probably something along the lines of getting the CIA to stop stealing his collectible beer bottles to use in their recreation of Leonardo's death ray that they are building on the moon) yet she still shilled for PP and demonized Republicans.

Because they are the ones with the heated rhetoric.

Guest
Guest

If Sen. Davis' staff keeps her from being around people who don't appear to be stable, how does she ever get to the floor of the State Senate?

Chill Brah
Chill Brah

This man has mental problems and needs a lot of help if he thinks the best way to get on in the world is by firebombing the office of an elected official.

I think that this, along with the Gabby Giffords shooting, makes people whose political rhetoric tends to be violent and full of loaded language to become overly defensive about their own intentions and draw precise lines between themselves and the actions of the mentally disturbed individuals who have attempted or successfully caused harm to others. This is probably because that a basic ugliness at the root of their own feelings becomes apparent to them when they see expressed outside of themselves to a greatly exaggerated and heretofore-unthinikable degree. This goes for anyone of any political stripe who advocates a dialog of violence in an otherwise civil setting against anyone else for political reasons. You become most uneasy when you see something outside yourself that is both all too familiar and abhorrent. Violent language and violent rhetoric will only cause people on all sides of any given issue to become fired up; it will never constructively solve problems.

pbluett
pbluett

As I recall, it was Ms. Giffords grieving parents as well as a few media types who were the first to attribute the motives of the shooter to the political oppositon when, as is more common, a mentally disturbed individual was involved without any particular ideologic  motivation.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Amen sir, amen...The major issue here is the rhetoric and vitriol disguised as "political speech". Both sides seem to do it, mostly from the right-tilting groups such as Faux News and the Tea Bags. I've seen a few dems engage in it as well, but as a whole its a right-side phenomena. 

That being said, this man is mentally ill, he needs to get help in vernon or elsewhere... 

Alfredo
Alfredo

Obviously, Mr Steele is a GOP operative driven to violence against the Senator because of the vicious attacks against her by the GOP

Me
Me

I thought the GOP hated the poor. AND the blacks.

Geez, you're a moron. He's HOMELESS. He's more than likely not all there, idiot.

Phelps
Phelps

I'm pretty sure Alfredo was being sarcastic.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

So it took you guys nearly a day to report this..you guys are really slipping w/o Wilonsky...This should've been posted yesterday evening

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Had it up last night? If Robert here he would have live-blogged the making of cocktail. Take that up with him. He's the one who abandoned you.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It's Fort Worth. You're lucky they mentioned it at all.

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