At least twice in the past few days, a homeless man tried talking to Fort Worth State Senator Wendy Davis about a Michigan taser incident. She wasn’t in the office. Then Cedric Steele left part of a dead animal for Davis, calling it a new species he wanted her to know about. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports the next day, Steele fire-bombed her office.
Fort Worth Police arrested 40 year-old homeless man Cedric Carmond Steele Wednesday on arson charges. They say he filled six bottles with lighter fluid and a wick, put the Molotov cocktails in a paper bag, lit it, and threw it at the front door of Senator Wendy Davis’ office. Then he took off, as staff members extinguished the fire with no injuries.
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead said Steele’s behavior and comments suggest he’s mentally unstable. The chief said he thought of other recent incidents around the country, and issued new orders to the force.
Halstead: We want them to extend a contact to any and all other elected officials in Fort Worth and we want them to greet them, update them on this case, but also that if there are any other incidents, any other areas of concern for our city, we want to be the first to be notified and will have the right staff deployed to insure their safety.
Senator Wendy Davis said now might be the time to cool emotional speech of the political season.
Davis: We need to be very careful about the type of rhetoric that is bantered about as part of political campaigns and political dynamics because behind that rhetoric are vulnerable people who are doing good work on behalf citizens of this community who are being placed at risk.
Police say there’s no evidence though that Steele’s behavior was driven by politics. Multiple reports show he had a history of incidents in several cities, from assault and battery to breaking and entering. The police reports says he talked of aliens several times right before the Senate office incident.
Of comments he made that seemed unbelievable, Chief Halstead said Steele made at least one that has since become true.
Halstead: Mr. Steele made unusual statements to office staff stating that they would soon read about him in the news.
Steele is jailed on $50,000 bond and faces a felony arson charge.