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Perkins (Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite)

End 'reckless rhetoric'

Shooting | Family Research Council President Tony Perkins calls for accountability

WASHINGTON-A day after a gunman opened fire at Family Research Council headquarters (see "'Did his job,'" Aug. 15), FRC President Tony Perkins called for organizations that have been using inflammatory language to be held accountable for their actions.

Speaking to dozens of reporters at a news conference Thursday afternoon, Perkins specifically called out the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled the FRC as a hate group.

"I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to intimidation and what the FBI has termed here as an act of domestic terrorism," he said.

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The suspect, Floyd Corkins II, allegedly walked into the FRC's Washington, D.C., headquarters Wednesday morning and made a statement about disagreeing with the group's policies before pulling out a weapon. The building manager, Leo Johnson, who Perkins said was unarmed and out of uniform, is credited with heroically stopping Corkins while being shot in the arm.

Johnson is expected to make a full recovery. Corkins is being held without bond and has been charged with assault with intent to kill.

Perkins expressed his appreciation for groups opposing the FRC's policies denouncing the violence, but asked them to go further and "join us in calling for an end to the reckless rhetoric."

Noting that the suspect had 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack, Perkins disputed reports that have said the restaurant chain has been underwriting FRC operations. He said Chick-fil-A "donated $1,000 a number of years ago. They don't underwrite this organization."

Perkins said freedom of speech and freedom of religion are the cornerstones of American society and vowed to continue the FRC's mission of defending "faith, family, and freedom."

Listen to a report on the shooting at Family Research Council headquarters on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

J.C. Derrick
J.C. Derrick

J.C. is a reporter in WORLD's Washington Bureau. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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