Man Charged in Shooting at Family Research Council HQ
WASHINGTON (AP) - A man who volunteered at a gay community center had a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a box of ammunition when he said "I don’t like your politics" and shot a security guard at the headquarters of a conservative lobbying group, authorities revealed Thursday.
Floyd Lee Corkins, 28, was charged in federal court a day after opening fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council. The guard, who was shot in the arm, was wounded but was able to help wrestle the gun away and restrain the shooter, police said.
Corkins was charged with assault with intent to kill and bringing firearms across state and was expected to appear later Thursday in federal court.
Corkins lived with his parents in Herndon and had recently been volunteering at a D.C. community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He told the guard words to the effect of, "I don’t like your politics" and pulled a handgun from his backpack, according to an FBI affidavit.
Besides a box of ammunition, authorities also found 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain that has landed at the center of a national cultural debate over gay marriage.
The shooting drew swift condemnation from President Barack Obama and Republican president candidate Mitt Romney, but also advocacy groups from across the ideological spectrum. One, the National Organization for Marriage, said it was time to stop labeling organizations that oppose same-sex marriage as hateful.
The Family Research Council had recently defended Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy for his opposition to gay marriage. The council strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion and says it advocates "faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion." The conservative group maintains a powerful lobbying presence, testifying before Congress and reviewing legislation.
Corkins’ parents told FBI agents that he has "strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner," the complaint says.
The assault charge carries up to 30 years in prison and the weapons charge has a 10-year maximum sentence. It wasn’t immediately clear if Corkins had a lawyer.
Authorities believe Corkins parked his car at a northern Virginia Metro station and used public transportation to get downtown. An open black box resembling a gun box was found on the car’s passenger seat, the affidavit says. Corkins used a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol that was legally bought and owned, said Richard Marianos, special agent in charge of the ATF’s Washington field office.
The guard, Leonardo "Leo" Johnson, 46, was shot in the left arm. His mother, Virginia Johnson, said he was resting comfortably at a hospital Thursday morning. She said she had not been to visit him but had spoken to him by phone.
"He said he feels very well," she told The Associated Press in a brief interview. "I am proud of him, very proud of him."
FRC president Tony Perkins said he visited Leo Johnson in the hospital and told him that he was a hero.
"He said, ’This hero business is hard work,’" Perkins said during an appearance Wednesday morning on American Family Radio.
Perkins added that the shooting would not deter his organization from its mission.
"We’re not going anywhere. We’re not backing up, we’re not shutting up. We have been called to speak the truth," Perkins said. "We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced."