The brother of Cedric Steele, who allegedly fire bombed the office of Democratic state senator Wendy Davis in Texas, said that Cedric had a history of mental health problems.
“All the way through college, we used to be like best friends,” Curtis Steele told the Star-Telegram. “Then he just mentally snapped and just wasn’t mentally there… Unfortunately it’s gotten worse. His whole reality is different.”
Curtis suggested his 40-year-old brother, who was taken into custody on Thursday, had delusions of grandeur. Cedric believed that he developed weapons for the Pentagon and became angry at the Dallas Mavericks for dismissing ideas that he’d shared with them.
An affidavit claimed Cedric had left a dead animal at Davis’ office, which he believed was a newly discovered species.
“His mind has sent him to believe he’s made this miraculous discovery or come up with a great idea,” Curtis explained. “He tries to pass it off to the highest level he could reach to help channel his idea. If whoever it was didn’t receive him the way he thought he should be received, that triggers the rage or anger.”
Steele is accused of trying to light multiple “Molotov cocktails” (glass bottles filled with accelerant) outside Davis’s office door. The devices created a small fire that was extinguished by staff members who where present at the time.
Witnesses say that Steele had visited the senator’s office on March 16 and March 19 demanding to speak with her. When he was told that Davis was not in the office, Steele became agitated and threatening, telling staff that they would soon “read about him on the news.”
Police said that witness reports and physical evidence led them to Steele’s place of residence, a vacant building where officers found an empty lighter-fluid can, wicks and other materials used to create an incendiary device. Steele was arrested in the parking lot of a convenience store and taken into police custody.
Davis blasted the state of Texas for failing to provide funding for mental health care following the attack.
“These decisions have consequences,” she told Talking Points Memo. “Many people are able to look at them just as dollars on a budget line and they forget that there are real people that are affected by them.”
With prior reporting by David Ferguson