WASHINGTON — A gunman opened fire inside the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the nation’s capital Wednesday, shooting and killing a security guard before other officers returned fire and shot the assailant, officials said.
The museum released a statement late Wednesday afternoon confirming that 39-year-old Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns had died of his injuries. He had served on the museum’s security staff for six years.
“There are no words to express our grief and shock over today’s events,” the statement said, adding that the museum would remain closed Thursday in his honor.
The museum confirmed that Johns was married but could not say whether he had any children.
Police are looking at an elderly man identified as James Von Brunn as the shooter, FOX News has learned — though D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier would not confirm the identity of the suspect.
“We have been told that the museum was on a list in his car of places that he wanted to target,” museum spokesman Joseph Rosboschil said.
The alleged shooter is the same James W. von Brunn who is a known white supremacist in his late 80s, MyFOXDC reported. He runs a Web site, Holy Western Empire, that carries several anti-Semitic statements.
Von Brunn was sentenced in 1983 to more than four years in prison for attempting to kidnap the Federal Reserve Board after a guard found him outside of a board meeting with a gun, knife and sawed-off shotgun.
Police said he wanted to take the board hostage because of high interest rates and the country’s financial problems, MyFOXDC reported.
On his site, Von Brunn insists he was trying to place the board under “legal, non-violent citizens-arrest.”
Posted by KGS at 10:38 AM