MADISON, Wis. — Police in Madison told reporters Monday afternoon it will take time before they know who is behind the fire and vandalism at the Wisconsin Family Action office early Sunday morning.
The fire comes a week after a draft decision that indicated the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked. According to its website, Wisconsin Family Action promotes Judeo-Christian values in Wisconsin and opposes abortion.
At this time, there are more questions than answers. However, Madison police said they are focused on gathering digital evidence, which includes anything anyone was able to capture that could lead to more clues.
Burned books and broken glass still scattered the ground as of Monday morning.
“This is after a little bit of clean-up,” Wisconsin Family Action Executive Vice President Micah Pearce explained. “The authorities have come in and have taken actually quite a bit of it away for evidence.”
With the graffiti now gone, so is any fear Pearce said.
“Most of my Mother's Day was actually robbed from me because of this, and we're not daunted for a second,” Pearce said. “Every single one of us is back to work, working hard and working overtime.”
Shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday, flames were spotted coming from the Wisconsin Family Action office near the Madison airport.
“Violence is unacceptable in all of its forms,” Pearce said. “Violence like this is unacceptable, violence anywhere else, and political violence is just unacceptable. We love looking for opportunities to engage on the issues.”
Police said two Molotov cocktails, one of which didn't break, were found. It is possible the second started the fire, but investigators aren't sure yet.
“I do anticipate that we will be able to solve it, but we want to take our time and make sure we do it correctly,” Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes told reporters during an afternoon press conference.
With no suspects in custody, Barnes, joined by FBI and ATF agents, wanted to make one thing clear.
“There's no place in Madison for any type of hate speech, for any type of violence, or any type of property destruction to advance any cause,” Barnes said.
A cause that, more often than not, is highly contentious.
“I'm not surprised that it happened,” Pearce said. “I am a little surprised that it happened to us because there's a lot of organizations in the state and around the country that fight for life, and we just happened to be the one that somebody targeted.”
Authorities want more tips. If you have information, you can call Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014.