The gunman who opened fire at the offices of The Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington DC yesterday, whose full name is Floyd Lee Corkins II, has been charged with assault with intent to kill and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition.
Corkins, 28, shot security guard Leonardo Reno Johnson in the arm after entering the building of the anti-gay Christian lobby group’s headquarters posing as an intern. According to the FBI, Corkins said “I don’t like your politics” before shooting.
The FBI released an affidavit yesterday stating that Corkins was restrained by Mr Johnson after the shooting, despite the latter’s injury. Mr Johnson is said to be recovering well.
The assailant was brandishing a legally owned 9mm Sig Sauer handgun and carrying a backpack containing 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 sandwiches from the US fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, who have been criticised of late for donating millions of dollars to the FRC to fund their anti-gay marriage campaigns.
Corkins had been working as a volunteer at an LGBT community centre in the capital. The executive director David Mariner said: “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.”
The parents of Corkins told FBI agents that their son carried “strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.”
Anti-marriage equality Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said: “There is no place for such violence in our society. 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.”
Brian Brown, president of anti-equality group the National Organization for Marriage said: “Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-[traditional]marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end.”
However,a number of LGBT groups across the US condemned the shooting, with one stating that they “were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family and his co-workers.”
The charge levelled at Corkins carries up to a maximum of 30 years in prison and the weapons charge a maximum of 10 years.