A man who walked into the headquarters of the Spokane County Democratic Party on Wednesday, claiming to have a bomb, described himself as a “lone wolf” and said he “was mad at the entire government system and the ‘elites’ within,” Spokane police said Thursday.
Peter Yeager, 45, of Grand Coulee, Grant County, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, police said.
Yeager walked into a building in downtown Spokane Wednesday morning with a backpack with wires sticking out of it, police said. As occupants streamed out — the building houses the Democratic headquarters and the offices of a local Teamsters branch, among other businesses — Yeager handed over a handwritten manifesto, police said.
His backpack turned out not to contain a bomb, but instead oil and gasoline that he used to start a fire, police said. That fire went out soon after police arrived.
Police say Yeager told them that he wanted to burn down the building, but did not want to hurt anyone.
The manifesto, according to police, read, in part: “Although I have profound respect for the grassroots movements of both the democratic and republican parties, sharing many of their ideals and values, we will continue domestic operations against their ruling elite as they exist in their current form. … Long live the Republic.”
Police say that Yeager told them he wasn’t targeting Democrats specifically but was mad at the “entire government system.”
“He stated that he used a Google search to find a political office and the Democratic office was listed first and was the closest to his location,” Spokane police said in a news release. “He added that he assumed the Republican office was in Idaho and further away.”
Yeager told police that he is an Iraq War veteran and suffers from PTSD and that he had been “thinking about doing something radical for a long time.”