Last Updated:July 24 @ 06:59 pm

FRC's Tony Perkins says 'reckless rhetoric' contributed to shooting

By Eric Tucker and Ben Nuckols

WASHINGTON (AP) - As authorities revealed details about the Family Research Council shooting, the head of the influential conservative organization blamed the attack on "reckless rhetoric," but then delivered his own politically-charged remark, saying critics gave the accused gunman "a license to shoot an unarmed man."

Tony Perkins' comments Thursday fanned already-inflamed statements from both sides, tapped into deep divisions over abortion and gay marriage, and drew more finger-pointing.

Meanwhile, the accused shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins II, was ordered held without bond on accusations he opened fire a day earlier inside the lobby of the council's headquarters. Corkins, whose parents said he strongly supported gay rights, 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, authorities said.

The guard was shot in the left arm but helped subdue the gunman, police said.

It wasn't immediately clear why Corkins, 28, had the chicken sandwiches.

The Family Research Council has steadfastly supported the president of Chick-Fil-A and his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage.

While blaming Corkins for the shooting, Perkins also faulted the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization that tracks and litigates against hate groups. The law center labeled the council a hate group in 2010 for what it called the organization's anti-gay stance.

"Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organization hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy," Perkins said.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, called Perkins' accusation "outrageous." He said the council earned the designation for spreading false propaganda about the gay community, not for its opposition to same-sex marriage.

"The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse - claims that are provably false," he said in a statement. "It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people."

Corkins had recently been volunteering at a D.C. community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He lived with his parents in Herndon, Va., and told a federal magistrate Thursday that he had only $300 in his account. He was appointed a public defender.

Corkins faces charges of assault with intent to kill and bringing firearms across state. The judge ordered him held pending a hearing next week. Corkins was otherwise silent during the hearing and stared ahead impassively.

The assault charge carries up to 30 years in prison and the weapons charge has a 10-year maximum sentence.

Corkins received a master's degree in 2006 from George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development in Fairfax. He earlier attended Grace Brethren Christian School near Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.

The shooting was condemned by President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as gay and lesbian advocacy groups and conservative organizations.

But there was no sign of reconciliation across the ideological spectrum.

"Perkins cannot be allowed to exploit the sympathy rightfully generated by this inexcusable crime to whitewash his group's ongoing anti-gay activities. If the FRC wants to stop being labeled a hate group, it must stop doing and saying hateful things," Wayne Bensen, the founder and executive director of Truth Wins Out, a gay rights group, said in a statement.

The Family Research 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.

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, an affidavit said. 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 resting comfortably at a hospital Thursday morning.

Johnson told WJLA-TV that Corkins claimed he had come to the council's office to interview for an internship.

Johnson's mother, Virginia Johnson, said she had not been to visit him but had spoken to him by phone.

"He said he feels very well," she said in a brief interview. "I am proud of him, very proud of him."

---

Associated Press Writers Ben Nuckols, Brian Witte and Matthew Barakat contributed to this report.

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10 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    August 17, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    “But there was no sign of reconciliation across the ideological spectrum.”
    The Apostle Paul in the KJ Bible:
    “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
    What communion hath light with darkness?
    What concord hath Christ with Belial?
    What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

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  2. noveldogComment by noveldog
    August 17, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    When the Democrats took prayer out of school and forbid the display of the Ten Commandments in any Public building they allowed Satan to enter in. Now we are reaping the consequences of this foolish and ungodly action.

    Vote Republican. restore sanity to our government, and end slavery, then prepare to enjoy freedom and prospirity once again.

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    • Le SellersComment by Le Sellers
      August 17, 2012 @ 11:48 am

      The Democrats did not “[take] prayer out of school and forbid the display of the Ten Commandments”. The whole purpose of government-run, tax-funded welfare schools (invented or imported by Horace Mann in 1852) was to divorce children from their parents’ religious and moral values.

      The fact that it took a century and a half to achieve his goal is not surprising, since he, and others like John Dewey, knew that people must be gently nudged into surrendering. You know John Dewey, I’m sure. He’s the one who, in the early years of the XX, said, “What can they hope to do in their one hour Sunday School when we have their children six hours a day?”

      The answer is to remove your children from the grtf-welfare schools. Educate your children in your own family. Send them to a private school. Team up with others and co-op school, or Share School with others in your church. Find the successful Mom School and send your children down the street to her house. Do whatever it takes to remove your children from the grasp of the government’s Youth Indoctrination Center.

      You cannot afford a free education. The cost is too high.

      Mr. O’bama, where are the Jobs?

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  3. amcitComment by amcit
    August 17, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    Congresswoman Giffords was shot in Arizona. The left went on an immediate campaign to blame the right, saying it was caused by the right’s “violent and hateful rhetoric.”

    And then, the left continues with their hateful rants against the right, choosing to use that tactic rather than civil discussion. So now, there is another shooting. The right is now saying that it was caused by the “violent and hateful rhetoric” of the left.

    It happened because there is evil in this world, and that evil is sparked whenever anybody from either side starts using hateful speech instead of respectful speech.

    Remember – you do not have to be disagreeable to disagree.

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  4. malcolmxComment by malcolmx
    August 17, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    a president who emboldens reckless radicals is the problem;; the justice dept /obumbler own this one.

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  5. bna42Comment by bna42
    August 17, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    “Perkins also faulted the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization that tracks and litigates against hate groups. The law center labeled the council a hate group in 2010 for what it called the organization’s anti-gay stance”

    I agree with Perkins. It is incomprehensible that a conservative Christian organization in a predominantly Christian nation would ever be labeled as a “hate group” for standing up for their Biblical beliefs.

    However, when Obama publicly announced that the U.S. is “no longer a Christian nation”, he basically gave his approval for the radical anti-Christian groups to attack the values this nation was founded on, the principles that have kept us the strongest nation in the world until liberalism took over.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 17, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

      HATE is being used as a control word by so many groups. It is also being used as an enabling tool, to commit crime. I had a girlfiend who said she was a Left winger, and time and again I would be smacked with “hateful this, hate that” so that she could try to get her way. Very educational, when it gets personal.

      SPLC has done very well for itself money wise. No poverty there. Their freebasing the HATE word would be comical if it were not so effective in creating censorship that would fit into the 1984 World, penned by George Orwell.

      In a day not so far off in the future, say last week, in England, FACECRIME was committed by a Mark Worsfold watching an Olympic bike event. His crime? His hate? NOT having a smile, a happy look on his face! SPLC can daydream of the day that it can monitor spy cams to see if people are looking hateful, looking unhappy, and send in the Police Droids…

      Worsfold, age 54, wealthy, family man, for his FACEHATE, ( A 1984 word ) was thrown down off a 7 foot wall, tackled by police, and questioned for 5 hours. To his discredit, he said he understood why the police did this. No surprise. So many in what is called England, have accepted the 1984 World.

      Perkins is a hero for daring to stand up!

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      August 18, 2012 @ 11:05 am

      I am sorry, it is FACECRIME in the 1984 Orwell novel, same outcome, just the same, per FACEHATE.

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  6. slickzipComment by slickzip
    August 17, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    The liberal press hate christians ,,,,,,

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    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      August 18, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

      They have Christophobia!

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