Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

August 16, 2012

Man charged in shooting at conservative group HQ

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who volunteered at a gay community center had a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a box of ammunition when he said "I don't like your politics" and shot a security guard at the headquarters of a conservative lobbying group, authorities revealed Thursday.

Floyd Lee Corkins, 28, was charged in federal court a day after opening fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council. The guard, who was shot in the arm, was wounded but was able to help wrestle the gun away and restrain the shooter, police said.

Corkins was charged with assault with intent to kill and bringing firearms across state and was expected to appear later Thursday in federal court.

Corkins lived with his parents in Herndon and had recently been volunteering at a D.C. community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He told the guard words to the effect of, "I don't like your politics" and pulled a handgun from his backpack, according to an FBI affidavit.

Besides a box of ammunition, authorities also found 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain that has landed at the center of a national cultural debate over gay marriage.

The shooting drew swift condemnation from President Barack Obama and Republican president candidate Mitt Romney, but also advocacy groups from across the ideological spectrum. One, the National Organization for Marriage, said it was time to stop labeling organizations that oppose same-sex marriage as hateful.

The Family Research Council had recently defended Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy for his opposition to gay marriage. The council strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion and says it advocates "faith, family and freedom in public policy and public opinion." The conservative group maintains a powerful lobbying presence, testifying before Congress and reviewing legislation.

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