Authorities on Wednesday announced an arrest in an arson fire that destroyed much of the Arizona and Maricopa County Democratic Party headquarters. Phoenix police said 29-year-old Matthew Egler was booked on one count of arson of an occupied structure. No information about a possible motive was disclosed and it was not immediately known if Egler had an attorney to speak on his behalf. Egler previously volunteered with Maricopa County Democrats but was banned from continuing because of behavioral issues, the Arizona Republic reports. "We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is in custody," state and county Democratic leaders said. Arizona Republican Party leaders also condemned the fire.
The blaze occurred early Friday in a business district a few miles north of downtown Phoenix. Investigators said evidence indicated the fire was an act of arson. The building is the longtime home of both the state and county Democrats, the AP reports. The northern portion of the building, which houses the operations for Maricopa County Democrats, was a total loss, said Steven Slugocki, the county chair. Damage was less extensive in the state party’s portion of the building, he said. The fire destroyed computers, tablets, phone-banking equipment, campaign literature, and years of candidate and organizing information, Slugocki said. It also burned political memorabilia accumulated over decades, including campaign materials for John F. Kennedy, he said.
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