Last Updated:October 25 @ 08:07 am

Suspect in Family Research Council shooting was LGBT volunteer

By Eric Tucker and Pete Yost

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Virginia man suspected of shooting and wounding a security guard at the Washington headquarters of a social conservative lobbying group on Wednesday made a negative reference about the organization's work before opening fire, a law enforcement official said.

Police said the man, identified as Floyd Lee Corkins II, entered the front lobby of the Family Research Council in downtown Washington around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, began arguing with a security guard and then shot him in the arm. Corkins, 28, was restrained by the wounded guard and others and was being held Wednesday night on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, the FBI said.

Authorities were interviewing Corkins to determine a reason for the shooting and were canvassing his neighborhood in Herndon, Va., outside Washington. TV news footage showed the suspect, a large man with a shaved head in an unbuttoned striped shirt, being led to a car in hand restraints.

Though authorities did not publicly reveal a motive, advocacy groups across the ideological spectrum condemned the violence, with some casting it as a hate crime. President Barack Obama was concerned about the wellbeing of the guard, a White House spokesman said, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also said he was appalled.

"Today's attack is the clearest sign we've seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as `hateful' must end," Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement.

The Family Research Council, headquartered in a busy downtown tourist district, 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 on those causes, testifying before Congress and reviewing legislation. Its president, Tony Perkins, said the group's main concern was with the wounded guard.

Corkins who had been volunteering recently at a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, made a negative comment about the organization's activity before the shooting, but the reference was not specific, one of the law enforcement officials said. Two law enforcement officials said Corkins was carrying sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain whose president's opposition to same sex marriage recently placed the restaurant at the center of a national cultural debate.

James McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said soon after the shooting that authorities didn't yet know enough about the gunman and his state to mind to know what inspired the attack.

The guard, Leo Johnson, was conscious and breathing after the shooting and was being interviewed and treated at a hospital. Authorities credited him for thwarting a shooting they said could have been much worse.

"The security guard here is a hero, as far as I'm concerned," said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Corkins had been volunteering for about the past six months at The DC Center for the LGBT Community, said David Mariner, executive director of the community center, which is in Northwest Washington. He usually staffed the center's front desk on Saturdays, and his most recent shift was about two weeks ago.

"He always struck me as a kind, gentle and unassuming young man. I'm very surprised that he could be involved in something like this," Mariner said.

Authorities seized Corkins' car at a northern Virginia Metro station, and were going door-to-door speaking with neighbors, several of whom spoke highly of the family.

"They were always so sweet and so nice," said Stephanie Meyer, who lives a few doors down. "They are awesome people. We never had any issues."

According to a U.S. Defense Department official, Corkins is not a member of the Air Force, but he may have lived at Andrews Air Force base in some other capacity in the past, possibly as a dependent or family member.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to provide personal information.

Amy Biondi and her husband Steve were visiting Washington from Long Island with their daughter and a friend and tried to ask officers for help with a parking meter when they were told there was a situation they had to deal with. The door to the FRC was opened, and an officer could be heard repeatedly shouting, "Put the gun down, put the gun down."

"Next thing you know there are police officers swarming the area," said Biondi, 45, a massage therapist from St. James, N.Y.

The family didn't get a close look inside, but they said the man that officers were talking to seemed to comply immediately.

Groups aligned with conservative causes lambasted the shooting, but so did a coalition of more than two dozen organizations promoting gay, lesbian and transgender rights, which said it rejected and condemned the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president, who was traveling in Iowa Wednesday, was informed of the shooting shortly after 1 p.m.

"The president expressed his concern for the individual injured in the shooting and his strong belief that this type of violence has no place in our society," Carney said.

Romney said in a statement that he was appalled. "There is no place for such violence in our society," he said. "My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today's horrific events."

The headquarters of the FRC is in the city's bustling Chinatown neighborhood, near the Verizon Center, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and several museums, restaurants and shops.

In the past month, the FRC had forcefully defended Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy for his remarks in opposition to gay marriage, which brought the fast-food chain to the forefront of the nation's culture wars.

Mariner said he did not know Corkins well or have any conversations with him about the Chick-fil-A controversy or other political issues of interest to the gay community.

"I really only talked to him about volunteering, so I couldn't say anything about anything else," Mariner said.

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Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Matthew Barakat in Herndon, Va., contributed to this report.

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17 Comments

  1. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    August 16, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    ~~ “Two law enforcement officials said Corkins was carrying sandwiches from Chick-fil-A,” ~~

    Perhaps the folks at Chick-fil-A put the matonaise in his sandwich instead of where ‘he wanted it’, and that made him ‘so mad he just needed to shoot somebody’ …

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    • mrwilsonComment by mrwilson
      August 16, 2012 @ 11:57 am

      Say it isn’t so Maurice; another man with three names? Floyd Lee Corkins II; did he have a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” on his person?

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  2. Chris LundComment by Chris Lund
    August 16, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    It’s Obvious that he wasn’t a “Straight” shooter. Just sayin…….

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (16 votes cast)
  3. kenny1801Comment by kenny1801
    August 16, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    Another LEFT WING NUT, no doubt…All these lefties are nut jobs…

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (20 votes cast)
  4. minutemanComment by minuteman
    August 16, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    This attempted murderer should be charged as such AND with a hate crime. No death penalty sentence when he is convicted because I would rather he face “prison justice.” They will be all over him in the big house.

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  5. agbjrComment by agbjr
    August 16, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Can someone – anyone – post an example of this so-called “hate speech” the media and liberal groups claim FRC is supposedly preaching? I don’t believe one can be found because frankly I don’t believe FRC “hate speech” exists. However if someone really believes they DO have an example of bona-fide hatred coming from the FRC then post it here – NOW – with source qualifications. Comments or quotes unaccompanied by actual and verifiable sources are nothing more than heresay equal to, “someone said” and “I read somewhere”. Here’s your chance, liberals … put up or shut up.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (23 votes cast)
    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      August 16, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

      Betcha the libs will not reply – most certainly they will offer no substantiated evidcence. Betcha!

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)
    • MarcusComment by Marcus
      August 16, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

      dictionary.com defines “hate” as “intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility.”

      Anyone who goes to frc.org — the website of Family Research Council — can judge for themselves whether the organization’s expressed viewpoints conform to that definition.

      If FRC doesn’t have an “intense dislike” of gay people, they sure have a strange way of showing it. Their publications perpetuate every outdated stereotype and discredited generalization about gay people ever invented.

      The simple fact is that most Americans accept the general premise that everyone deserves a fair shake and equal treatment under the law. Others think it’s a good idea to divide Americans into categories of first-class citizens and second-class citizens, with one group being granted superior legal status, rights, and privileges over the other group. FRC stands firmly in favor of this kind of discrimination.

      So you can decide for yourself what to call a group of this kind. Most of us think that our time is better spent advocating constructive conservative solutions to the huge problems facing our nation, rather than engaging in legally bullying people just because they are different from ourselves.

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  6. bna42Comment by bna42
    August 16, 2012 @ 11:02 am

    “The president expressed his concern for the individual injured in the shooting and his strong belief that this type of violence has no place in our society,” Carney said.”

    But Obama doesn’t recognize that HE has created the atmosphere for “this type of violence” by forcing the homosexual agenda on the people of this nation who oppose it and refuse to accept it.

    The fact that this shooter worked for “The DC Center for the LGBT Community” must be the reason we don’t see 24/7 coverage of this incident in the main stream news media.

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    • AMVoterComment by AMVoter
      August 16, 2012 @ 11:47 am

      You are absolutely correct. Obama has created divided Americans by playing one group off another. The “Great Uniter” in reality is the Great Destroyer in more ways than one.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      August 16, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

      Just the ‘Fringes’ of a Civil War (these violent acts), if you ask me! Which will escalate if O’ wins in 2012.

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  7. gilplynComment by gilplyn
    August 16, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    Please note that conservatives didn’t automatically go to Facebook or Google and search for this man among left wing organizations and groups then splash it all over the news wires. They did the reasonable thing and waited for actual FACTS to come out before they reported anything about the shooter. Too bad the left wing media couldn’t show the same restraint after the theater shooting. They immediately found some poor man with the same name associated with the Tea Party and spread it all over the news as presumed guilty. I’m sure they will remain completely silent over this man’s associations, whatever they turn out to be. They would never tarnish one of their own.

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  8. popstComment by popst
    August 16, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    Typical Obama. Someone call you a “Sl-t” and you get a phone call and sympathy. Someone tries to kill you at a Conservative organization, nothing! Way to go y’all

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  9. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    August 16, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    Reports say that the guy begged the guard not to shoot him. I guess it didn’t occur to him that the building would have an armed guard since it is in DC which has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation. It just shows you what true cowards most of these shooters really are.

    I’m glad that conservative organizations take security seriously and post armed guards. The guard probably prevented a tragedy. Most likely the occupants of the building were law-abiding citizens of DC and therefore unarmed.

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  10. Kenneth RandallComment by Kenneth Randall
    August 16, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    Thank God noone was killed! Has ABC tried to link him to the Tea Party yet?

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      August 16, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

      YEP! Right off the bat.

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  11. Pingback: Another Shooting! Where Is The Media? |

  12. doskiComment by doski
    August 17, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    It’s apparent to all who follow libby logic that GBLT are mental disorders. Everyone else already knew it before the libby’s endorsed them !

    While shooting a Conservative may make him dead it will never prove him or her wrong, unless he or she claims immortality. It will, however prove the shooter’s mentally challenged.

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