crimes and misdemeanors

Family Research Council Shooter Was Armed with a Semiautomatic and Fifteen Chick-fil-A Sandwiches [Updated]

Photo: @ryanjreilly

Floyd Corkins, the man who shot security guard Leo Johnson in the lobby of the Family Research Council’s D.C. headquarters yesterday, is expected to appear in court this afternoon. The 28-year-old is currently being held on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. However, investigators indicated that Corkins could end up charged with a federal crime, such as attempting to commit a terrorist act, as details surrounding the case increasingly seemed to indicate that the attack on the conservative organization was politically motivated. According to an FBI affidavit filed today, Corkins “said words to the effect of ‘I don’t like your politics’” before shooting Johnson in the arm with a Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol. He also reportedly told Johnson, “It was not about you, it was what this place stands for” as he was wrestled to the ground.

Many — particularly those affiliated with other conservative advocacy groups — have been eager to characterize the shooting as a hate crime. In a statement released yesterday, Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, said, “Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end.” And Gary Bauer, the former head of the FRC and current president of the similarly minded American Values, pointed to “a disturbing level of intolerance and hate aimed at those who share traditional values.” Meanwhile, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination also issued a statement, saying, “We utterly reject and condemn such violence … and wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.” 

In addition to the gun, Corkins was carrying two fifteen-round magazines and a box containing another 50 rounds of ammunition — along with fifteen Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Of course, the chain’s name has become shorthand for “anti-gay marriage” in recent weeks, and Corkins had reportedly spent the last six months as an intern at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community. (His supervisor there expressed surprise at the incident, describing him as “a gentle and unassuming young man.”) While it’s obviously good that Corkins was stopped before he could carry out his plan, we are curious about what he intended to do with the fried chicken. Why was he willing to give his money to a company whose politics he opposed? Was it a fake delivery? Or did he envision some kind of perverse food-and-bullet fight? 

Update: This afternoon’s court appearance did not shed any light on the sandwich issue. Corkins was reportedly silent throughout the hearing, speaking only when asked whether he could afford to pay for his own attorney. (He was assigned a public defender after saying that he had only $300 in his bank account.) The judge charged Corkins with transporting firearms and ammunition across state lines and assault with intent to kill. He’s being held without bail pending another hearing next week. 

FRC Shooter Was Armed with Gun, Chick-fil-A