Suspect in shooting at Family Research Council pleads not guilty

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who allegedly walked into the conservative Family Research Council building in Washington last week and shot a staff member pleaded not guilty Friday to the three-count indictment against him.

Floyd Corkins II was indicted Wednesday on three counts stemming from the August 15 shooting, including assault with intent to kill while armed. He also was charged with possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition.

David Bos, Corkins' federal public defender, entered the not guilty plea on his client's behalf. Bos also stated in court that after a mental evaluation, Corkins was found competent to stand trial.

Corkins appeared in court unshaven and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. His right eye appeared swollen.

Corkins responded in a clear voice when Magistrate Judge Alan Kay asked him a few basic questions such as to state his full name.

Corkins waived his right to contest detention and will remain in jail pending trial.

The assault charge is a District of Columbia offense that carries a maximum 30-year sentence. The possession charge is another D.C. offense that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The federal firearms charge carries a 10-year maximum sentence.

Prosecutors say Corkins entered the council's Washington headquarters around 10:45 a.m. last Wednesday and encountered building manager Leo Johnson at the front door. They say Corkins pulled a handgun from his backpack and opened fire, striking Johnson in the arm.

Despite his wound, Johnson tackled Corkins and wrestled the gun away, prosecutors say.

At least one witness to the shooting heard Corkins say at the scene words to the effect of "I don't like your politics," according to an affidavit released last week by the government.

The affidavit says Corkins' parents told law enforcement their son "has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner."

The Family Research Council is a Christian group that focuses on family matters, anti-abortion issues and religious liberties. It calls homosexuality harmful and unnatural and says marriage should be only between a man and a woman.