The man who planned mass shootings at several Washington-based conservative organizations was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for the thwarted plot.
Floyd Corkins II walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council (FRC) in August 2012 with a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, a gun, and 100 rounds of ammunition. Security guard Leo Johnson tackled and subdued Corkins, but not before the attacker fired three shots, hitting the guard in the arm.
The government asked the judge to give Corkins 45 years. His lawyers said he didn’t deserve to serve more than 11½.
In a letter to the court, Johnson detailed the extent of his injuries and said his life would never be the same: “I often experience feelings of anger and frustration when I think about all of the things that I have had, and continue to endure both physically and psychologically as a result of this crime.” He asked for Corkins to receive the maximum sentence.
Corkins, 28, told authorities he planned to shoot as many people as possible and smear the chicken sandwiches in their faces as a political statement. The volunteer for The DC Center for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Community was angry over the position conservatives, including Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, have taken on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In court documents filed in April, government prosecutors said they based their sentencing recommendation on Corkins’ intent. Without Johnson’s intervention, the attacker “would have almost certainly succeeded in committing a massacre of epic portions,” the filing said.
In a statement before the court, FRC President Tony Perkins said he did not seek vengeance but justice: “Mr. Corkins has so far shown no remorse. The facts show he planned his attack in great detail and hoped for massive casualties. … As he admits, this crime was premeditated and had been on his mind for years before he decided to act on his plan.”
During today's hearing, Corkins did apologize to his actual and intended victims: “I realize resorting to violence to achieve a political end is never OK,” he said, adding that he still disagrees with the FRC.
Perkins also laid blame on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has applied a “hate group” label to the FRC and other organizations that support traditional marriage: “[Corkins’] goal and that of SPLC is to silence those with whom they disagree. In a civil society, shutting down debate is not how reasonable people and organizations operate. Intimidating and bullying others shreds the ‘ordered liberty’ of which our Founders wrote and for which they advocated, and places all of us in jeopardy of losing our sacred rights as militant extremists claim the public square exclusively for themselves.”