A Virginia man accused of shooting a Washington security guard inside the headquarters of a conservative Christian lobbying group was indicted on a local terrorism charge, marking the first time in a decade that a person has been prosecuted under the statute, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Authorities said Mr. Corkins was carrying a backpack containing ammunition and Chick-fil-A sandwiches when he entered the group’s headquarters, saying words to the effect of, “I don’t like your politics,” before shooting the guard, Leonardo Johnson, in the arm.
Mr. Johnson managed to help take down the gunman, and no one else was injured.
Chick-fil-A was making headlines at the time because of its president’s stated support for traditional marriage.
Mr. Corkins had been volunteering at a community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and his parents told the authorities that he felt strongly about gay rights.
His target was a lobbying group that staunchly opposes gay marriage and abortion rights. The new charge, brought under a 2002 terrorism statute, indicates prosecutors plan to prove the shooting was ideologically motivated.
Mr. Corkins is the first person charged under the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington.
The indictment accuses him of “acting with the intent to intimidate and coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia and the United States.”
The terrorism charge carries up to 30 years in prison. Other new charges in the updated indictment include attempted murder while armed, second-degree burglary and weapons offenses.
Mr. Corkins is expected in federal court Friday. He had earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of carrying a firearm across state lines, assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment, as did Mr. Corkins‘ public defender, David Bos.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said late Wednesday that the indictment “makes clear that acts of violence designed to intimidate and silence those who support natural marriage and traditional morality undermine the security and stability of our form of government.”
He also repeated earlier calls for pro-gay groups to stop labeling their opponents as hate groups, saying it encourages attacks on religious organizations.
“We again call on organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center to stop its reckless practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality. The SPLC’s ‘hate’ labeling of Christian organizations is fostering a dangerous and deadly environment of hostility and it needs to stop.”View Entire Story
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