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A security guard was shot inside the headquarters of the Family Research Council in Washington on Wednesday morning.
According to a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, the shooting happened at the conservative Christian group’s offices at 801 G Steet near Verizon Center in Chinatown around 10:50 this morning.
The security guard was struck in the arm and transported to a local area hospital conscious and breathing. One suspect was apprehended and a weapon was recovered at the scene.
Police say the shooting is still under investigation and its motivation is unknown. Because the FRC’s offices are housed inside a federally owned building, the FBI is also responding.
According to Fox News, a source says the suspect “made statements regarding their policies, and then opened fire with a gun striking a security guard.”
The FRC has been an active opponent of marriage equality and claims to advance “faith, family and freedom in public policy and opinion.”
In a statement, FRC President Tony Perkins said police were investigating the incident.
“Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today,” Perkins said. “Our concern is for him and his family.”
Following news of the shooting, Republicans took to Twitter to send their prayers to the victim.
Prayers for those affected by the shooting at @frcdc today – our hearts are with you and we pray for His comfort and healing at this time.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) August 15, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with the guard, families, and all who work at the Family Research Council.
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) August 15, 2012
— John Fleming (@RepFleming) August 15, 2012
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which has butted heads with FRC on multiple issues, also expressed their concerns for the injured security guard.
Our thoughts are with the guard shot at FRC headquarters this am. Whatever the motivation, violence is not the answer wapo.st/R2xjOV
— GLAD (@GLADLaw) August 15, 2012
UPDATE @ 2:40P: Although law enforcement officers continue to investigate the motivation behind this morning’s shooting, warning media outlets that immediate eye witness accounts can be innacurate, several gay rights organizations have already released statements condemning this morning’s violence.
Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, said his organization’s “thoughts and hearts” go out to the victim and his family and colleagues.
“In America we settle political differences through robust debate in the public square, not with violence. If the shooting is found to be politically motivated, it is a detestable act of cruelty and cowardice and the perpetrator should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Besen said. “We stand squarely with the Family Research Council today and offer them our full support and prayers.”
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, also condemned the violence.
“Keeping in mind that at this time we know little about the shooter or his motives, whatever our political disagreements, in this country, we use ballots, not bullets, to address them,” Cooper said in a statement.
“We offer prayers for the injured security guard, his family, and everybody at the FRC building, barely a fifteen minute walk away from Log Cabin Republicans national headquarters,” Cooper added. “In many ways, this is a reminder that we aren’t so far apart.”
UPDATE @ 3:30P: An FBI spokesperson confirmed to Metro Weekly that the suspected shooter was in FBI custody, but reiterated that motivation had not yet been determined.
According to the FBI, the shooter was tackled and restrained by the injured security guard and others in the lobby of FRC headquarters while they waited for police to arrive. Although some news outlets reported that the shooting was being considered a case of domestic terrorism, an FBI spokesperson said all possible motives were still being investigated.
Whether the FBI will take the lead on the investigation will depend on if the shooting is deemed a hate crime.
Even though the investigation remains ongoing, the National Organization for Marriage released a statement assigning blame on LGBT advocates’ rhetoric.
In a statement, NOM President Brian Brown pointed the finger at gay rights groups that have labeled “pro-marriage” organizations “hate groups.”
“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end,” said Brown. “The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Family Research Council a ‘hate group’ for its pro-marriage views, and less than a day ago the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement calling FRC a ‘hate group’—they even specified that FRC hosts events in Washington, DC, where today’s attack took place.”
Brown said that for “too long national gay rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted.'”
In a joint statement, the leaders of more than 25 LGBT organizations wrote, “Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.”
“The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence,” they continued. “We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.”
UPDATE @ 8P: Although law enforcement have not yet confirmed the identity of the suspected shooter or his motivation, multiple news outlets have identified him as 28-year-old Floyd Corkins II of Herndon, Va.
According to the Associated Press, Corkins was a volunteer at The DC Center for the LGBT Community on U Street in Northwest Washington. Executive Director David Mariner told the AP that his most recent shift as a front desk receptionist was two weeks ago.
“He always struck me as a kind, gentle and unassuming young man. I’m very surprised that he could be involved in something like this,” Mariner said.
Following initial accounts, it is also being reported that Corkins made a negative reference about the Christian lobbying organization’s work before he opened fire on the security guard.
Both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama responded to the news on Wednesday. Romney called the shooting appalling, stating, “There is no place for such violence in our society.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on the campaign trail that the president was informed of the shooting around 1 p.m. and expressed concern for the victim. Carney said Obama believes “this type of violence has no place in our society.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
Photos by JD Uy. FRC Offices at 801 G Street NW, Washington, DC.
And statement posted on door of The DC Center for the LGBT Community.
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