Proving that armed violence is not just something coming from the political right, a man walked into the Washington headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council with a 9 mm handgun and shot the security guard before the heroic guard and others wrestled the man to the floor before he could inflict more damage.
The shooting was another in a recent spate of armed violence that has left many Americans shaking their head in disbelief about this summer of shootings.
The man, Floyd Lee Corkins, 28, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon as authorities were trying to determine whether he would be hit with federal terrorism charges. They had yet to determine a motive, but according to witnesses he was shouting about his opposition to social conservatism during the incident. Corkins, of Herndon, Virginia, a D.C. suburb, has a Master’s Degree in education and human development from George Mason University.
The guard who stopped Corkins was identified as Leo Johnson, who was shot in the arm and hospitalized in stable condition.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier had high praise for Johnson for stopping the man from getting upstairs, where he could have done more serious damage.
“The security guard here is a hero, as far as I’m concerned,” Lanier told reporters outside the building, which is across from the National Portrait Gallery and a block from the Verizon Center.
“He did his job,” Lanier said. “The person never made it past the front.”
The Family Research Council is a conservative lobbying group that fights for socially conservative causes, such as against abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia.
Law enforcement sources told the Washington Post that Corkins was carrying a Chick-fil-A bag inside his satchel. Chick-fil-A became a major player in the country’s social wars when company president Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage and made big cash contributions to groups that are fighting against it. The Family Research Council was a vocal supporter of Cathy’s.
Corkins apparently had worked as a volunteer for the DC Center for the LGBT Community, according to CNN.
David Mariner, executive director of that center, released a statement Wednesday night saying he was “shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence.”
“No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for the victim and our thoughts are with him and his family,” Mariner said in the statement.