A Virginia man who attacked the Washington, D.C., facilities of a nationally-recognized pro-life activist group will spend the next 25-years in federal prison, Chief Cathy Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department told reporters on Thursday.
The domestic terrorist, 29-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins, was sentenced 25-years in prison after pleading guilty to three felony charges, including a terrorism offense, for his August 2012 shooting of a private security officer assigned to access-control for the Family Research Council, located in downtown Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Corkins' case was the first time that a suspect had been charged with -- and convicted of -- committing an act of terrorism under a provision of the District of Columbia’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002.
The 2002 law was passed by the U.S. Congress to cover criminal actions committed with the intent to “intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia or the United States.”
Corkins, who lived in Herndon, Va., entered his guilty plea in February 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to charges of "committing an act of terrorism while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition."
Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts sentenced Corkins and told him that once he completes his prison term, he will be placed on five years of supervised release. Corkins has been in custody since his arrest after the Aug. 15, 2012 shooting.
According to the government’s evidence, on the morning of Aug. 15, 2012, Corkins entered the offices of the Family Research Council (FRC) and encountered an unarmed security officer.
Corkins brandished a firearm that had been hidden in his backpack and pointed it at the officer. The security officer, Leonardo Johnson, charged Corkins and attempted to physically subdue the armed suspect.
During the life-or-death fight, Corkins fired three shots, with one round striking Johnson in his left arm.
Despite the gunshot wound and Corkins’ subsequent discharges of his gun, Security Officer Leonardo Johnson, 46, heroically succeeded in disarming the defendant and forcing him to the ground, face-down and spread-eagled.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Corkins targeted the Family Research Council because of its views on gay marriage and abortion. He entered the building with the ultimate goal of shooting and killing as many employees of the organization as he possibly could.
“A security guard’s heroism is the only thing that prevented Floyd Corkins, II from carrying out a mass shooting intended to kill as many people as possible,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen.
“Our entire community is thankful to the hero who stood up to this heinous attack. Today’s 25-year prison sentence demonstrates the steep price to be paid for turning to violence to terrorize your political enemies,” said Machen.
“I want to commend FRC employee Leonardo Johnson for his heroism and the first responding officers for their quick assessment of the situation, which brought stability and control to the chaos,” said Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
“As recent events have shown us, quick thinking and bravery during incidents like this can save many lives,” said the city's top cop.
During the subsequent frisking of the suspect and the crime scene examination following the attack, police officers recovered two fully loaded magazine clips and a list of names of the Family Research Council and other socially conservative organizations such as the Christian Coalition. The search of Corkins’ backpack turned up, among other items, a box of 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition.
During his elocution before Judge Roberts, Corkins also revealed the steps he took in planning the attack, saying that he had been thinking about perpetrating similar violence for years but never carried out an attack. Had he not been stopped at the Family Research Council, he stated, he planned to go to the second organization on the list he was carrying and perpetrate a similar shooting there.
Following his apprehension of the would-be killer, Security Officer Johnson underwent emergency surgery in which metal plates were inserted into his left arm so that his shattered bones could heal. Numerous bullet fragments remain in his arm, and he was unable to report for duty for several months.