Floyd Lee Corkins charged in Family Research Council shooting - Washington Post
The man authorities say walked into the downtown D.C. offices of the Family Research Council and shot a security guard Wednesday morning was charged Thursday with assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, according to court filings and officials.
Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in D.C. Thursday afternoon.
An armed man walked into the Washington headquarters of a conservative Christian lobbying group Wednesday and was confronted by a security guard, whom he shot in the arm before the guard and others wrestled him to the ground, authorities said.
According to an FBI affidavit made public Thursday, Corkins walked into the lobby of the conservative group’s headqurters shortly before 11 a.m. and encountered the guard, Leonardo Reno Johnson.
A law enforcement official familiar with the incident but not authorized to talk about it, said Corkins asked to see someone Johnson didn’t know. Johnson has worked at the Council for 11 years and became suspicious. Corkins said he had the name in his bag, bent down and pulled out a 9mm handgun, the official said.
Corkins said “I don’t like your politics,” according to the FBI affifavit. He then shot at Johnson, the affidavit said, and hit him in the arm.
Johnson, wounded, wrestled the gun away and subdued Corkins, the affifavit said.
If convicted, Corkins could face prison sentences of up to 10 years on the federal firearms charge and up to 30 on the District of Columbia assault charge.
Johnson’s mother said she is proud of her son for subduing the gunman and “so happy” to hear the District’s police chief call him a hero.
“I’m sorry for what happened, and the way he got hurt,” Virginia Johnson said in a Thursday morning telephone interview from her Southeast home. She spoke with her son, when he called from a hospital moments after she saw news of the shooting on television newscasts.
“Yes, I’d say he was a hero,” said Virginia Johnson, 72.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier credited Johnson with preventing a tragedy by stopping Corkins from reaching the upstairs offices in the group’s six-story building at Eighth and G streets NW.
In the Thursday interview, Johnson’s mother said she thought her son was the one hurt even before his name emerged publicly because she knew where he worked.
By the time he called her from the hospital, she said, “I was crying. I was upset. He was trying to calm me down.”
Johnson said her son, who also lives in Southeast, didn’t provide many details of the incident.
“He just told me, ‘Ma, I got shot.’ I said ‘I figured it was you.’ I said, ‘Where did you get shot at?’ He said ‘In the arm.’”
She said she learned that her son had stopped the gunman from television reports. “I was so happy” after hearing Lanier’s remarks, Johnson said.
The FBI affifavit said authorities recovered the 9mm Sig Sauer handgun, plus two additional magazines of ammunition. When agents searched Corkins’s backback, they found another 50 rounds of ammunition, and 15 sandwiches from Chick-Fil-A.
The Atlanta-based fast-food chain has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks after its president spoke out against same-sex marriage. The Family Research Council also opposes such unions.
The Family Research Council, a conservative lobbying group, deals in issues of faith, family and freedom, its Web site says. The organization opposes abortion and euthanasia, among other practices, and says it considers homosexuality to be a sin.
Corkins had been volunteering at a U Street NW community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, according to officials there.
Michael Sessa, president of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, said the FBI has spoken with staff members about Corkins’s time there, which had been about six months. Corkins would have performed administrative work checking in people at the front desk and would have undergone a background check, Sessa said.
The FBI affidavit says that agents interviewed Corkins’s parents, who said their son “has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner.”
The affidavit supports the federal gun charge by saying that Corkins parked his Dodge Neon at the East Falls Church Metro station in Virginia and carried his gun on the Metro into D.C.
Johnson earned more praise Thursday morning when D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) hailed him during a NewsChannel 8 interview.
“What a hero,” Gray said of Johnson. “This could have been a horrific tragedy. We have no idea how widespread this may have become. ... Even while being shot, he still had the wherewithal to be able stop this man from doing any further damage than he already had done.”
Johnson said her son, her only child, graduated from Ballou High School in Southeast and went into the security business. “He’s just a good person who tried to help people and never got into trouble,” she said.
In a Wednesday statement, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said “Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family.”
Staff writers Mike DeBonis, Mary Pat Flaherty, Allison Klein and Paul Duggan contributed to this report.