WASHINGTON — A law enforcement official says a suspected gunman made a negative reference about the work of a conservative Christian lobbying group before shooting a security guard.
The reference was made in a confrontation in the lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington Wednesday morning. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Another law enforcement official identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins II. Authorities were interviewing neighbors in Corkins' neighborhood in Herndon, Va., on Wednesday evening.
After being shot in the arm, the security guard and others wrestled the suspect to the ground and he was arrested.
"As far as I'm concerned, the security officer here is a hero," D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier told The Washington Examiner. "The person never made it past him."
The man was taken into custody by the FBI and was being interviewed. Authorities did not identify the man or disclose where he was being interviewed.
NBC Washington reported that authorities found two loaded magazines with 15 rounds each in the suspect's backpack, as well as Chik-fil-A promotional materials.
Police and FBI officials said it's too early to know the circumstances of the shooting, which occurred around 10:45 a.m. at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, or whether it was connected to the group's activities.
"We don't know enough yet about him ... or mentally what he's thinking," said James McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office.
The headquarters of the Family Research Council is in the city's bustling Chinatown neighborhood, near the Verizon Center, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and several museums, restaurants and shops.
Amy Biondi and her husband Steve were visiting Washington from Long Island with their daughter and a friend and tried to ask officers for help with a parking meter when they were told there was a situation they had to deal with. The door to the FRC was opened, and an officer repeatedly shouted, "Put the gun down, put the gun down."
"Next thing you know there are police officers swarming the area," said Biondi, 45, a massage therapist from St. James, N.Y.
The family didn't get a close look, but they said the man officers were talking to seemed to comply with the orders immediately.
"Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today," the group's president, Tony Perkins, said in a statement.
The Family Research Council advocates conservative positions on social issues and strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion.
The Southern Poverty Law Center listed the Family Research Council as a "hate group" in 2010, saying the status was due to the group's "dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians."
Perkins was an outspoken defender of Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's public stand against same-sex marriage, which made the fast-food chain a flashpoint in the nation's culture wars. The Cathy family foundation has funded the Family Research Council.
"He's taking a bold stand," Perkins said after Cathy's comments were reported. "Chick-fil-A is a Bible-based, Christian-based business who treats their employees well. They have been attacked in the past about their stand. But they refuse to budge on this matter, and I commend them for what they are doing."13 comments on this story
"I am appalled by the shooting today at the offices of the Family Research Council in our nation's capital," GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in response to the shooting. "There is no place for such violence in our society. My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today's horrific events."
Deseret News writer Jackie Hicken, Associated Press writer Ben Nuckols and Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this report.