A security guard at the Family Research Council was shot and wounded Wednesday morning after a scuffle with a man who expressed disagreement with the group’s conservative views in the lobby of the group’s headquarters in downtown Washington, authorities said.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the shooter walked into the lobby of the building at about 10:45 and was confronted by the security guard as if the guard were asking him where he was going.
The man then took out a gun and opened fire on the guard, Lanier said. The guard and others wrestled the man to the ground, disarmed him and waited for police, she said. The guard was then taken to the hospital and is in stable condition, the chief said. FBI officials said the guard was shot in the arm.
“The security guard here is a hero, as far as I’m concerned,” Lanier said. ”He did his job. The person never made it past the front.”
The shooter is in FBI custody and has not yet been charged, authorities said. A law enforcement official said at one point in the scuffle, the shooter expressed views that differed from those of the Family Research Council. The official also said the shooter was carrying a bag that had a Chick-Fil-A bag inside. Chick-Fil-A’s chief executive has expressed similar views against same-sex marriage as the Research Council.
Although authorities did not identify the alleged shooter, two law enforcement officials said he was Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon. He has not been charged.
Authorities also did not name the security guard. But Darin Miller, a spokesman for the Family Research Council, said he was Leo Johnson, who works for the council and not for a private security agency.
The Family Research Council is a conservative organization that deals in issues of faith, family and freedom, according to its Web site. The site says the organization is against abortion and euthanasia and considers homosexuality to be a sin.
“The police are investigating this incident,” FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement. “Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family.”
A spokesman from the FRC declined further comment just before noon Wednesday.
James McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said authorities do not yet know why the person entered the building or why he started shooting.
“We don’t know enough about him or his circumstances to determine what his connection is to this group [the research council] or his mental state, or what he was doing or thinking of doing,” McJunkin said. “So we’re going to try to sort this all out, pull the evidence together, do all the interviews we can.”
McJunkin and Lanier said they did not yet know whether the FBI or the D.C. Police would take the lead on the shooting investigation.
“The possibility is that it could involve circumstances that it could involve a federal crime that would be investigated by the FBI,” McJunkin said.
They are investigating whether the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism, a hate crime or something else.
Law enforcement officials said the shooter parked his car at the East Falls Church Metro station and took the train downtown. At about 3 p.m., investigators were towing two vehicles from the East Falls Church station.
The building is not far from the Verizon Center and the Gallery Place Metro station in one of the busiest places in the city. It is near several museums, restaurants and shops and was teeming with tourists on Wednesday.
Authorities advised drivers to use H and E Streets during the police investigation.
This item has been updated.
Staff writers Mark Berman, Del Quentin Wilber, Mary Pat Flaherty, Allison Klein, Justin Jouvenal, Fredrick Kunkle and Clarence Williams contributed to this report.