A gunman opened fire at Family Research Council headquarters this morning. The Washington Post quotes Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier as saying that the gunman walked into the FRC lobby at 10:45 a.m., where he was confronted by a security guard. ABC 7 News reports that the man then shot the security guard with a gun, after which the guard and several other people disarmed and restrained the shooter. Fox News reports that the gunman posed as an intern, then shot the guard after voicing disagreement with FRC's policy positions. Both sources report that the guard was conscious after the shooting and is receiving medical attention. (Hat tip to Box Turtle Bulletin.)
In a press release at the Family Research Council website, FRC president Tony Perkins stated that "Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family." (See www[dot]frc[dot]org/newsroom/incident-at-frc-headquarters)
Readers, please keep the injured security guard and his loved ones in your thoughts. I'll keep an eye on the news to provide further information as it becomes available.
What happened at the FRC offices today was inexcusable and frightening. While many of us disagree with the FRC's stance, they did NOT deserve to be targets of violence. In a civilized society, we do NOT settle political disputes with savagery. I dare not imagine the damage the gunman could have caused if he had not been stopped, and I applaud the quick thinking of those who restrained him. Let's loudly condemn this senseless violent.
At the same time, worry churns in my stomach. I worry that unscrupulous people will use this incident for political ends. I worry that people will use the shooting as another excuse to demonize groups they dislike. I hope I'm wrong.
UPDATE: NBC News states that two law enforcement officials have identified the suspect as 28 year-old Floyd Corkins. The article also states that the gunman was carrying additional rounds of ammunition when he entered FRC headquarters this morning.
UPDATE II: The New York Times reports that Corkins was a volunteer at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, according to the center's executive director. I fear that anti-LGBTQ voices may use this to politicize the incident, something I will discuss in my next post.