(CNSNews.com) – Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the gunman who opened fired at their headquarters last month got off three shots, one of which nearly struck Buildings Operating Manager Leo Johnson in the head, before the shooter was subdued.
Addressing a bloggers’ briefing at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, Perkins was adamant about continuing to pursue the FRC’s mission despite the attack, before giving a detailed account of the incident that left Leo Johnson wounded.
“We haven’t shrunk back, in fact we are moving forward and [are] more determined than ever,” Perkins said when asked about how things have changed for the FRC in the aftermath of the shooting.
“One thing I learned in the Marine Corps and as a police officer, if you’re taking incoming rounds, you must be close to the target,” he said. “And so, I know that while oftentimes we wonder if we’re getting close in this business, we know for certain that we’re at what is the vulnerability of the other side. And when we talk about marriage, religious freedom, those are issues that a vast majority of Americans support.”
“So, we’re not backing down, we’re not backing away, look for us to increase our presence, our efforts,” he said.
Perkins then described in detail what happened on Aug. 15, when Floyd Corkins III, armed with over 50 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, allegedly opened fire at the FRC, saying, “I don’t like your politics.”
“Fortunately Leo -- who acted heroically -- our buildings operation manager, not a full-time security guard, not armed, not in uniform, he was sitting at the guard’s desk as a secondary duty when this guy came in with the gun,” said Perkins. “He is still out recovering from his wounds.”
“He was shot. There were three shots fired,” Perkins continued. “The first shot actually had he not ducked would have hit him in the head -- missed his head by just inches. This is according to the FBI’s reconstruction of the crime scene and the trajectory of the round.”
“The second round struck him in the forearm as he was trying to disarm the assailant,” said Perkins. “And even with one -- that arm became completely immobile, he was not able to use it -- with one arm he was able to take the guy down and take the gun away.”
“One other shot was fired in that process, which struck a bookcase in the building,” Perkins said.
“And he had the gun on the man, and the guy was then pleading for him not to shoot him -- that he didn’t have anything against him, it was just what we stood for,” said the FRC president.
Perkins said the FBI is investigating the case as one of domestic terrorism. Corkins, who had volunteered at an LGBT center in Washington, D.C., pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Aug. 24 to charges of transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines; assault with intent to kill while armed; and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.
“I will tell you, Leo told me, subsequent as I was at the hospital when he came out of surgery about midnight that night, that he did contemplate for a moment—because he had no idea what was next, he was wounded, he saw that he was bleeding—he thought about shooting him because the guy continued to move,” Perkins said.
“And he said that he felt the voice of the Lord telling him not to shoot him,” said Perkins. “And at that time two other members of our team arrived to help subdue the guy until the police arrived.”
Perkins said the incident has forced the organization to “beef up” their security, which will include an increased presence when they hold their annual Values Voter Summit this weekend.
“We have taken all the precautions necessary to make sure that our guests, whether at FRC or at another event that we host, are safe, secure,” he said. “But we’re not going to let those who want to terrorize us and to silence us succeed. That will not happen.”