The suspect in the shooting at a conservative group's office is
described as a supporter of gay rights who had Chick-fil-A
sandwiches in his bag. The FBI is investigating the attack as a
possible hate crime.
While the FBI says its investigating the shooting in the lobby of
a national conservative organization in Washington Wednesday as a
potential hate crime, experts say the shooting suspect does not fit
the typical profile of someone involved in such violence.
Floyd Lee Corkins, who allegedly shot a security officer after
saying, I dont like your politics, was characterized, in an
affidavit released Thursday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
as a strong supporter of gay rights. The shooting took place at the
Family Research Council, a conservative think tank known for its
opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights.
Mr. Corkins, a volunteer at a community center for gays, held
strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat
homosexuals in a fair manner, the FBI affidavit quoted his parents
According to the affidavit, Corkins was carrying two loaded
magazines for a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, a backpack containing 50
rounds of extra ammunition, and 15 sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, the
Atlanta-based fast food chain targeted by gay rights groups after
its president was quoted as saying he supported the biblical
definition of the family unit.
Corkins was charged Thursday with assault with intent to kill
while armed and with interstate transportation of a firearm and
ammunition. The guard, who was shot in the arm, remains
Its pretty unusual to find a hate crime from the left end of the
[political] spectrum, says Kathleen Blee, a nationally recognized
expert on extremist groups. Most hate crimes are against vulnerable
populations like religious people or minorities.
Its really quite rare, says Ms. Blee, a sociology professor at
the University of Pittsburgh. Generally, gay rights advocates are
engaged in violent acts against property, but its very rare for a
gay rights activist engaged in violence against people.
David Mariner, executive director of a Washington community
center for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people, told
the local media Corkins was a volunteer there for six months.
No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the
strongest terms possible, Mr. Mariner said.
How law enforcement defines a hate crime depends on the statute
in each state. In most states, Corkins alleged actions would not be
classified as a hate crime, since the designation is reserved for
victims who were singled out because of their race, color, religion,
sexual orientation, national origin, gender, gender identity, or
disability, and the Family Research Council is considered a
On the federal level, the Shepard Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act
of 2009 defines hate crimes as incidents related to race, color,
religion or national origin of the victim.
However, according to 2011 data from the Anti-Defamation League,
four states California, Iowa, Louisiana, and West Virginia and the
District of Columbia add political affiliation to their definition
of hate crimes, a designation that protects advocacy groups like the
Family Research Council. …