Man charged in FRC shooting to get mental evaluation

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Local,DC,Crime,Aubrey Whelan

A federal judge on Thursday ordered that the Virginia man charged in a shooting at the conservative Family Research Council in downtown Washington should undergo a mental evaluation.

Floyd Lee Corkins II has been charged with interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, a federal offense, and assault with intent to kill while armed, a D.C. offense. Corkins, 28, of Herndon, is accused of shooting security guard Leo Johnson in the arm at the Christian group's headquarters on Wednesday.

Sources told The Washington Examiner on Wednesday that the shooter had issues with the group's opposition to gay marriage, and court documents released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office indicate the gunman allegedly told a security guard he didn't like the group's politics before opening fire. Johnson was hit in the arm but joined others in tackling the gunman, according to authorities.

'License to shoot'
The president of the Family Research Council said Thursday he believes the man who is accused of shooting a security guard at the conservative Christian group's D.C. headquarters Wednesday was "given license to shoot an unarmed man" by groups that have categorized the council as a hate group.
Tony Perkins said he appreciated the slew of gay rights organizations that have made statements condemning the shooting, but added that he believes "reckless rhetoric" led to the shooting of security guard Leo Johnson, who is recovering and expected to be back at work soon. The Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010 classified the FRC as a hate group, in part, the center said, because members had made statements linking homosexuality with pedophilia. The SPLC condemned the shooting in a blog post Wednesday. - Naomi Jagoda

FBI officials said they recovered a Sig Sauer 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with two magazines of ammunition from the crime scene Wednesday. They also recovered 50 rounds of ammunition from Corkins' backpack -- as well as 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches -- according to court documents. Chick-fil-A's CEO recently made headlines for his public opposition to same-sex marriage.

According to the affidavit, Corkins' parents -- with whom he lives -- told FBI agents their son has "strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner."

In U.S. District Court on Thursday, Corkins wore a white hazmat-style suit and sported a black eye. He spoke only to tell the judge he had just $300 in his checking account and couldn't afford an attorney. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay ruled that Corkins be held without bail for the time being and set a preliminary hearing for Aug. 24. Kay also granted federal prosecutors' request that Corkins undergo a mental evaluation.

Corkins earned a master's degree in education from George Mason University in 2006, and at one point was a volunteer at the DC Center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community. More than 40 LGBT organizations from around the country signed a statement "utterly rejecting ... such violence," and David Mariner, executive director of the center, said he was "shocked" by the incident.

FRC President Tony Perkins said at an afternoon news conference that he appreciated statements from such groups but added that he would "ask them to go a step further and to join us in calling for an end to the reckless rhetoric that I believe led to yesterday's incident."

Organizations have called the FRC a hate group based on its views against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Examiner Staff Writer Naomi Jagoda contributed to this report.

awhelan@washingtonexaminer.com

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