1 hurt in shooting at US Christian group

2012-08-16 09:02


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Washington - A gunman shot and wounded a male security guard on Wednesday at the Washington headquarters of a Christian conservative lobbying group, authorities said.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said he was "appalled" by the shooting at the offices of the Family Research Council, in the heart of the US capital.

"There is no place for such violence in our society," Romney said in a statement.

"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."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the suspect as Floyd Lee Corkins II, aged 28, of Herndon, Virginia close to Washington, and said he was being held overnight on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Television news footage showed police leading the suspect, a large man with an unbuttoned, blood-stained shirt baring his chest and stomach, to a car with his hands behind his back.

Motive unclear

FBI spokesperson Andrew Ames said the security guard challenged the assailant and was shot in the arm, adding that other guards eventually subdued the suspect before he was taken into custody by police.

The FBI later cordoned off half of a city block and removed evidence from the crime scene.

Although the shooter's motive was not immediately clear, The Washington Post and other media reported that the assailant was carrying a bag from fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, which is embroiled in an ongoing national controversy over the firm's opposition to same-sex marriage.

A spokesperson for the FRC, which was founded in 1983 to lobby policymakers to support conservative values and oppose same-sex marriage and abortion, declined to comment on the possible motive for the attack.

"The police are investigating this incident. Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family," FRC president Tony Perkins said in a statement on the group's website.

The website of anti-hate group the Southern Poverty Law Centre accuses the FRC of "defaming gays and lesbians... in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programmes and the repeal of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy".

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