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Family Research Council gunman pleads guilty to armed terrorism

A man who opened fire inside the headquarters of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington last year because of its opposition to same-sex marriage pleaded guilty Wednesday to committing an act of armed terrorism.


Floyd Lee Corkins

The man, Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., shot the council's unarmed security guard in the arm before he was subdued Aug. 15. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison when he's sentenced April 29 on the three charges he admitted in the plea deal, which also included interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, a federal offense, and assault with intent to kill while armed, a local offense.

According to an FBI affidavit (.pdf), Corkins said, "I don't like your politics," as he opened fire. It also said he was carrying at least 50 additional rounds of ammunition in his backpack, along with 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

The incident came a few weeks after Dan Cathy, chief executive of the fast-food company, said he opposed same-sex marriage and in the wake of reports that the company's charitable foundation had made millions of dollars in donations to organizations fighting efforts to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Family Research Council, an evangelical Christian activist group, came out strongly in support of Cathy's statements. Authorities said Corkins was a volunteer for a Washington organization lobbying for gay and lesbian rights.

Despite his injuries, the security guard, Leonardo Johnson, wrestled Corkins to the ground and gained control of the weapon while a second security guard called 911. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier called Johnson, who recovered, a hero, saying: "He did his job. The person never made it past farther than the front door."

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, blamed the shooting on civil rights organizations "that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy." But a coalition of organizations promoting gay, lesbian and transgender rights joined other conservative activists in condemning the attack.

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