Virginia man indicted for shooting at Family Research Council's headquarters

Published August 22, 2012

| Associated Press

A Virginia man opposed to the politics of a conservative lobbying group was indicted Wednesday on charges stemming from the shooting of a security guard at the group's Washington headquarters.

A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence.

Charging documents show Corkins was carrying a handgun, a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches when he opened fire on the security guard at the Family Research Council's headquarters on Aug. 15. The guard, who also served as the building's operations manager, helped to subdue Corkins after being wounded in the arm, authorities said.

The Family Research Council has defended Chick-fil-A since the fast-food chain's president, Dan Cathy, spoke publicly about his opposition to gay marriage.

Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents. It was not clear what he planned to do with the sandwiches.

While the shooting was denounced by both liberal and conservative groups, it did little to calm heated rhetoric on both sides of the gay marriage debate.

FRC president Tony Perkins said the Southern Poverty Law Center had given Corkins a "license to kill" by classifying his organization as a hate group. The SPLC stood by that designation, saying the FRC also had spread false propaganda about gays.

Federal authorities also confirmed Corkins was carrying a note with contact information of a second Christian conservative organization, the Traditional Values Coalition, said the group's president, Andrea Lafferty. She did not say whether her group was being targeted.

The federal firearm charge and the assault charge were initially filed against Corkins last week, while the local handgun charge was new.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the possibility of additional charges, including hate crime. The investigation is ongoing.

Corkins' public defender, David Bos, was out of town and declined comment on the charges until he had a chance to review the indictment. He did say Wednesday that he thought a hate crime charge was unlikely.

Corkins is due in court Friday for a preliminary hearing. A judge also ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine his mental competency, the results of which have not been disclosed.

Corkins had volunteered at a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people but was not well-known in Washington's gay community. He attended a small, conservative Christian high school and later majored in philosophy at George Mason University, although he did not graduate.

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