Terrorism charges filed in Family Research Council shooting

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Virginia man on new terrorism charges for allegedly shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, D.C., this summer.

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The Justice Department is charging Floyd Lee Corkins, 28, with committing an act of terrorism while armed, attempted murder while armed, aggravated assault while armed and second-degree burglary while armed.

The new charges are in addition to an indictment for possessing and transporting a firearm into D.C. for the purpose of committing a violent crime. The government filed those charges against Corkins in August, immediately following the shooting, which wounded a security guard at the conservative Christian group’s headquarters.

The DOJ contends that on Aug. 15, Corkins approached an unarmed security guard at the FRC building in Northwest Washington. Corkins allegedly pulled a gun from his backpack, opened fire and struck the arm of the guard, who then wrestled the firearm away from Corkins, according to the DOJ.

The shooting ignited a flurry of accusations lobbed between both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

In 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) placed the FRC on its list of hate groups for its statements about the gay community.

In the wake of the shooting, the National Organization for Marriage, one of the nation’s leading opponents of same-sex marriage, said the shooting was a direct result of the SPLC’s decision.

The SPLC vehemently denounced the shooting and rejected the use of the violence, but stood by its earlier categorization of the group, which has promoted the idea that a homosexual lifestyle is linked to pedophilia.

Wednesday’s indictment is the first time the government has charged someone with violating the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, which qualifies a person’s terrorist intent as an attempt to “intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia or the United States.”

Corkins has pleaded not guilty to the three original charges levied by the DOJ. If he is found guilty of the terrorist charges, he could receive up to 30 years in prison.

His next court appearance is Oct. 26.