Thu August 16, 2012
Family Research Council Attacker Could Face Terrorism Charge
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:41 am
Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. Charges Filed:
The man arrested for opening fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Family Research Council on Wednesday faces charges of "assault with intent to kill" and illegal transportation of a gun and ammunition. He has not been charged with attempting a terrorist act.
In a statement emailed a short time ago to reporters, the Justice Department says:
"A criminal complaint was filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Floyd Lee Corkins II on charges stemming from yesterday's shooting at 801 G Street NW.
"The defendant was charged with the federal offense of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, along with the District of Columbia offense of assault with intent to kill while armed. The offenses carry the following maximum penalties: 10 years imprisonment on the federal offense and 30 years imprisonment on the District of Columbia offense. The District of Columbia offense also carries a mandatory-minimum term offive years imprisonment.
"Mr. Corkins, 28, of Herndon, Va.,is to make his initial court appearance today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia."
Our original post — "Family Research Council Attacker Could Face Terrorism Charge."
The gunman's motive will determine whether he's charged with a federal crime such as attempting a terrorist act, The Washington Post reports this morning as news outlets lay out what's known about Wednesday's shooting incident at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council.
The Associated Press sums up the news of what happened this way:
"A man walked into the lobby of a political organization, assailed the group's work, pulled a gun and opened fire.
"But when it happened Wednesday morning at the downtown Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council, only one person was injured: the security guard. And after being struck in the arm, he helped wrestle the gunman to the floor, thwarting an attack that police fear could have turned deadly.
" 'The security guard here is a hero, in my opinion,' D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said of Leo Johnson, who was conscious and in stable condition at an area hospital after the shooting."
The wire service adds that the man identified as the gunman, Floyd Lee Corkins II, "had been volunteering recently at a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people" in Washington, D.C. He is a resident of Herndon, Va., about 30 miles west of the nation's capital.
According to the AP, he allegedly "made a negative comment" about the Family Research Council. "But the reference was not specific," according to a "law enforcement official." The wire service adds that "two law enforcement officials said Corkins was carrying sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain whose president's opposition to same sex marriage recently placed the restaurant at the center of a national cultural debate."
Washington's WJLA-TV reports it has been told by sources that the gunman allegedly said "it's not about you, it's about the policy," before firing his weapon.
The Family Research Council is among the advocacy groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
The Post says that "if investigators conclude that the shooting did not amount to a federal crime, officials said, Corkins would be turned over to D.C. authorities to be charged and prosecuted locally. To give federal authorities more time to make that decision, Corkins could be charged by D.C. police as soon as Thursday, a senior police official said. He could then be jailed on local charges while the FBI investigation continues."
Correction at 11:25 a.m.: Corkins volunteered at a community center in Washington, D.C., not Herndon, Va. He lives in Herndon. Our earlier post has been corrected.