Floyd Corkins, 28, entered guilty pleas today to three charges related a shooting spree last August at the Washington DC headquarters of the conservative Family Research Center that left one wounded. The counts included: committing an act of terrorism, interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and assault with intent to kill while armed. He will be sentenced April 29.
A former volunteer at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, Corkins told the judge that he targeted the nonprofit group because he wanted to intimidate opponents of gay rights. He was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in a backpack at the time. FRC is known for its opposition to gay marriage and related issues.
Corkins appeared at the FRC’s Chinatown office on Aug. 15 armed with 9mm handgun. He reportedly told Security Guard Leo Johnson, “I don’t like your politics” and fired the gun after Johnson refused to let him in. Johnson was wounded in the arm, but still managed to wrestle the gun away from Corkins, who was subsequently arrested.
FRC President Tony Perkins has blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal civil rights group, for helping to provoke the shooting. The SPLC has labeled the FRC a “hate group” for its positions on gay issues, lumping the nonprofit in with KKK, neo-nazi and radical Islamist groups. The FRC is still listed as such on the SPLC website.
In a statement emailed to reporters, Perkins said:
“The day after Floyd Corkins came into the FRC headquarter and opened fire wounding one of our team members, I stated that while Corkins was responsible for the shooting, he had been given a license to perpetrate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a ‘hate group.’
“Today both assertions were validated in court as Corkins plead guilty to multiple criminal charges, including terrorism.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence. Only by ending its hate labeling practices will the SPLC send a message that it no longer wishes to be a source for those who would commit acts of violence that are only designed to intimidate and silence Christians and others who support natural marriage and traditional morality.
“Once again, I call on the SPLC to put an immediate stop to its practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality.
“Whether the SPLC continues to demonize those who hold to biblical morality or not, the Family Research Council will remain unequivocally committed to our mission of advancing faith, family and freedom,” concluded Perkins.
The SPLC did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
UPDATE: SPLC Spokeswoman Rebecca Sturtevant emailed the following link to a September, 2012, press release by the group stating that FRC deserves to be labeled a “hate group”. “We have no further comment at this time,” she said.