A man with a gun walked into the D.C. offices of the Family Research Council on Wednesday morning and fired on a security guard who confronted him in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime or act of domestic terrorism, authorities said.
The guard was hit in the arm and taken to an area hospital. He was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon.
The shooting occurred at about 10:50 a.m. in the lobby of the Christian-based family organization in the 800 block of G Street. Police said the man, identified in multiple news reports as 28-year-old Floyd Corkins of Herndon, entered the lobby and was confronted by the guard. The man shot the guard, who still was able to wrestle him to the ground with the assistance of some other people in the lobby, police said. No charges had been filed as of late Wednesday.
D.C. police cordoned off an area on G Street Northwest between 8th and 9th streets into the late afternoon, and FBI agents gathered at the scene.
Fox News cited sources saying the shooter might have been carrying a Chick-fil-A bag at the time of the shooting and that after the guard took the gun the suspect said, “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”
Mr. Corkins had been volunteering recently at a Northeast D.C. community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
David Mariner, executive director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, said he was “shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence.
“No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for the victim and our thoughts are with him and his family,” he said.
The Family Research Council has been outspoken on hot-button socials issues such as gay marriage and abortion, most recently in support of fast food chain Chick-fil-A after gay marriage advocates were outraged by company president Dan Cathy’s comment during an interview that his business supported traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier called the guard, whom colleagues and friends identified as Leo Johnson, a “hero.” The sentiment was echoed by an FBI spokeswoman in an afternoon briefing.
“He did above and beyond what he was supposed to do in this situation,” said Jacqueline Maguire, noting that the guard prevented the shooter from advancing into the building.
The Family Research Council released a statement on its website immediately after the shooting expressing concern for “our colleague who was shot today.”
“Our concern is for him and his family,” organization president Tony Perkins said.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a statement saying he was “appalled” by the shooting.
“There is no place for such violence in our society,” he said. “My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today’s horrific events.”
Founded in 1983, the nonprofit group says on its website that works to advance “faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion” through “policy research, public education on Capitol Hill and in the media, and grass-roots mobilization.”
The council was denounced in 2010 by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for its beliefs about homosexuality. The Montgomery, Ala.-based civil rights group issued a statement after the shooting on Wednesday.
“We condemn all acts of violence and are following the story closely,” the group said.