Leonardo R. Johnson is back home, healing, after quick action that may have averted an anti-right-wing shooting rampage at the Family Research Council’s (FRC) headquarters in Washington, D.C. last month.

The 46-year-old African American maintenance worker requested privacy as he recovers from a gunshot wound that occurred when he happened to be standing a turn at the security desk at FRC headquarters Aug. 15.

In a statement released through the FRC on Aug. 24, Johnson said he’s recovering, but isn’t completely out of the woods yet from a rare attempt at politically-motivated violence aimed at a right-of-center group.

“I am thankfully now out of the hospital,” Johnson said. “My condition continues to improve although it appears another surgery will be needed.”

That’s music to the ears of Johnson’s loved ones, including his girlfriend Erica Reed. Reed told the {AFRO} that her first response when she initially learned of the shooting was shock.

“I was in denial,” Reed said of her reaction when officials from the Family Research Council (FRC) notified her of the shooting. “I was just saying ‘No, not him.’”

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II pleaded not guilty on Aug. 24 to a federal interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition charge along with assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence; two District of Columbia charges.

According to a psychiatric evaluation revealed that Corkins is mentally fit to stand trial.

On Aug. 15, Corkins, a Herndon, Va. resident, allegedly walked into the FRC offices at 801 G St N.W. in downtown Washington armed with a Sig Sauer 9mm and two additional magazines loaded with 9mm ammunition. According to federal authorities, a witness told them that Corkins shouted, “I don’t like your politics” upon entering the building.

Johnson, whose spent the last 13 years working for the FRC, was working his daily three hours as security guard as part of his job as the building facilities manager. An FBI affidavit says surveillance footage then shows Corkins speaking with Johnson before, reaching into his backpack, pulling out his pistol and firing at Johnson, hitting him in the arm. Johnson, despite being wounded, rushed Corkins disarming him and subduing him.

In the meantime, another security guard called 911 and D.C. police (MPD) officers responded, arresting Corkins and beginning their investigation by examining the man’s backpack. According to the affidavit, they found an additional 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

Andrew Ames, FBI spokesman said that, after determining that Corkins may have violated federal laws, an investigation of federal law violations began.

On its web site, the FRC says it “shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family.” It has drawn criticism from the political left, notably the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) which said the FRC has “knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender (LGBT) people,” SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok said in a statement.

The SPLC’s label gave Corkins reason to attack his organization. according to FRC President Tony Perkins

“Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday,” Perkins told reporters on Aug. 16. “But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”

It’s apparently a debate that Corkins felt strongly about. The FBI said Corkins’ parents told them their son harbored strong opinions against those he believes unfairly treat homosexuals.

Reed was aware of the organization’s high profile in the debate over family and homosexuality, too. And, she said, so was Johnson. “In every job you have you know the risk,” she said. “But nothing even remotely close to this had ever happened before.”

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO