August 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Family Research Council shooting suspect indicted
FBI unit at Family Research Council headquarters, gay news, Washington Blade

Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, a former part-time volunteer for D.C.’s LGBT community center, was indicted Wednesday on charges related to the shooting last week at the Family Research Council. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, a former part-time volunteer for D.C.’s LGBT community center, was indicted Wednesday on charges related to the shooting last week at the Family Research Council.

He is scheduled to appear in court for a joint preliminary and detention hearing Friday.

Corkins was ordered held without bond last Thursday by a federal judge one day after the FBI and D.C. police apprehended him for allegedly shooting a security guard in the lobby of the Family Research Council headquarters, one of the nation’s leading anti-gay groups.

The FBI placed Corkins in custody around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 801 G Street, N.W., after police said he shot security officer Leo Johnson in the arm. Police said Johnson, who sustained a non-life-threatening wound, and other guards wrestled Corkins to the floor and took away the gun.

One of the charges is the federal offense of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition. The second is a D.C. offense of assault with intent to kill while armed.

FBI officials said the firearms charge was brought because Corkins transported the gun and ammunition from Virginia, where he purchased them legally, to D.C. for the purpose of committing a crime.

Officials with the DC Center for the LGBT Community said Corkins had been working as a volunteer at the center’s front desk on weekends for about six months and there were no signs of any problems associated with his work.

“I was shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence,” the center’s executive director, David Mariner, said in a statement.

“No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible,” Mariner said. “We hope for a full and speedy recovery for the victim and our thoughts are with him and his family.”

Law enforcement officials and the DC Center have not released additional details about Corkins’ background, adding to the mystery both within the LGBT community and the community at large about who Corkins is. It could not immediately be determined whether Corkins is gay.

An FBI arrest affidavit filed in U.S. District Court last week says Corkins lived with his parents in Herndon, Va., and drove a silver 2004 Dodge Neon, which is registered under the names of his parents, to the East Falls Church Metro station on the day of the shooting. The affidavit says he took the Metro to D.C. and walked from a Metro station to the Family Research Council building.

A spokesperson for George Mason University told the Blade that Corkins studied philosophy at the university as an undergraduate student from 2005 to 2007, when he stopped taking courses. The spokesperson, Dan Walsch, said the university incorrectly told some news media outlets last week that Corkins received a master’s degree in education from George Mason. Walsch said the mix-up was due to the fact that Corkins’ father, Floyd Lee Corkins Sr., also attended George Mason around the same time as his son and the elder Corkins was the one who received the master’s in education degree.

Ric Chollar, director of the university’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Resources — which bills itself as a “safe, inclusive, and comforting” place for LGBT students — has no recollection of Floyd Corkins II ever having visited the office or participating in any of its activities, according to Walsch.

Walsch said that under the university’s privacy policy, he could not release any further details about Corkins’ enrollment at George Mason such as how many courses he completed before he stopped attending the school.

During Corkins’ first appearance in court on Aug. 16, Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Martin, one of two prosecutors in the case, asked U.S. District Court Judge Magistrate Allan Kay to arrange for Corkins to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before the preliminary and detention hearing set for Aug 24. Kay approved the request.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called Johnson a hero for risking his life by preventing Corkins from entering the upper floors of the building where Family Research Council employees work. Lanier said that while authorities were not certain what Corkins’ motive was, a stash of ammunition recovered from his backpack suggested he might have been planning a mass killing.

An FBI arrest affidavit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Thursday morning says a witness told the FBI “Corkins stated words to the effect of ‘I don’t like your politics’ to Johnson and other security officials in the lobby seconds before he pulled out his gun and shot Johnson.

The affidavit says authorities recovered from the scene a loaded Sig Suer 9mm pistol that Corkins allegedly used to shoot Johnson and two magazines loaded with 9mm ammunition. It says the FBI also recovered from a backpack that Corkins had with him a box containing an additional 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition along with 15 Chick-fil-A- sandwiches.

In a news conference Thursday outside the Family Research Council’s headquarters, held less than an hour after Corkins appeared in court, FRC Executive Director Tony Perkins said the Chick fil-A sandwiches found in Corkins’ backpack strongly suggest that he had targeted the FRC for its conservative political beliefs, possibly including its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Perkins noted that the Family Research Council had issued statements in support of Chick-fil-A during the past several weeks, after some gay activists criticized the company’s president for his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Perkins created a stir among LGBT groups when he criticized the pro-LGBT Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationally recognized civil rights group, for being “reckless” for labeling groups like the FRC as hate groups.

“I want to be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday that wounded one of our colleagues and our friend Leo Johnson,” Perkins said.

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

In a statement posted on its website on Aug. 16, Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok called Perkins’ comment “outrageous,” saying SPLC has for more than 40 years denounced violence.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • This dude only has $300 in his bank acct. Where is HRC? Where is DC Center? Where are activits? Fund raising time to help him to get through the due legal process, Don’t throw him under the bus!

  • Funny how no one is supporting Corkin even though he did what so many of us wish we could do. Shooting the security guard was stupid but the Family Research Councils’ Tony Perkins is another matter. The hatred and violence Perkins alone has generated towards the L.G.B.T. community makes me seriously question whether it is right or wrong to attempt to, at minimum threaten him. I’m sure that anyone reading this will think I’m a lunatic but I personally am sick of the threats of violence against myself and my friends. Without the Tony Perkins of the world a vast majority of the animosity present in the world wouldn’t exist.

    Supporting a man that lost control of his faculties for a brief period may not be politically correct but it’s not wrong either. Ask yourself what you think drove him to the F.R.C. building in such a rage? Could any of us have done that given the right circumstances?

  • *****
    This dude only has $300 in his bank acct. Where is HRC? Where is DC Center? Where are activits? Fund raising time to help him to get through the due legal process, Don’t throw him under the bus!

    Huh??? A perp is a perp. He set us back– as did the fake claim of the lesbian in Nebraska (ABC News-reported). This violent crime at FRC particularly distracts from the important efforts to end anti-LGBT violence in DC.

    If you want to donate, donate to the guard who was shot, or to the important work GLOV, Rainbow Response and DCTC are doing to combat hate crimes and domestic violence in the LGBT community.

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