State News

Accused Holocaust museum shooter dies

Posted January 6, 2010

— The 89-year-old white supremacist charged in a deadly shooting at Washington's Holocaust museum died Wednesday at the Federal Corrections Center in Butner, where he'd been held while awaiting trial, authorities said.


James von Brunn died shortly before 1 p.m. at the prison hospital, prison spokeswoman Denise Simmons said. He had been suffering from chronic congestive heart failure, sepsis and other health problems, she said.

Von Brunn, who faced charges that carried the death penalty, had been receiving medical care for months at the prison complex in Butner, which is known for its medical facilities for aging and sick federal inmates. His lawyer, A.J. Kramer, called the death "a sad end to a tragic situation" and declined to make further comment.

Authorities say von Brunn carried a rifle as he walked up to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10 and then shot security guard Stephen T. Johns, who was black, as he opened the door for von Brunn. He was wounded by gunfire from two other guards.

Officials at the prison hospital had previously said chronic medical problems had complicated a psychiatric evaluation for the suspect, who prior to the shooting had written racist and anti-Semitic screeds on the Internet.

Officials at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement saying their thoughts and prayers remained with Johns' family. "Officer Johns died heroically defending the museum, visitors and staff. This tragedy is a powerful reminder that our cause of fighting hatred remains more urgent than ever," the statement said.

One of the two guards who fired back at von Brunn said he had mixed feelings about his death. "I'm shocked. I'm glad he's gone. I wish he had his day in court, but it'll never come," said Harry Weeks of White Plains, Md.

Weeks returned to work in August and said he thinks often about his slain colleague. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss him," Weeks said.

A seven-count indictment against von Brunn charged him with first-degree murder, killing in a federal building and bias-motivated crime. The indictment also accused him of seeking to intimidate Jewish people at the museum.

Von Brunn had a racist Web site and wrote a book titled "Kill the Best Gentiles," alleging a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the white gene pool." He also claimed the Holocaust was a hoax.


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  • NCAries Jan 7, 2010

    I do not understand how you can hate someone you do not know.

    It begins at home, most bias is passed down and it's reinforced in most every form of media at most any venue where they teach people to view all members of other races based on the actions of one or more members when the race is anything other than what some consider the master race...then things are viewed differently, depending on which race you're in.

  • NCAries Jan 7, 2010

    No more hate from his lips or hands! landshark

    No doubt that there are plenty who can and will take his place that feel the same way he this day and age...Sad.

  • teacher-mom Jan 6, 2010

    It is tragic that others can hate so much. It must be a sign of mental illness. I do not understand how you can hate someone you do not know.

  • Sidekick Jan 6, 2010

    Couldn't they have gotten a photo before he died?

  • koolbike1 Jan 6, 2010

    "Three good things will come from his death. When he meets St. Peter at the "Pearly Gates" he will (1) see people of all races and religions in heaven, (2) then not be allowed in, and (3) be sent straight down to you know where to spend eternity in flames instead of heaven. The ultimate price!"

    Or,... he will be just dead and not exist anymore, like everything else that dies on this planet and that has ever lived and died in this universe. Science, my friend.

  • AM3 is Awesome Jan 6, 2010

    Sad? No.

    Happy? No.

    What he deserved? Yes.

  • mistersinister Jan 6, 2010

    He moved to a much warmer place during this record cold spell we're having

  • Here kitty kitty Jan 6, 2010

    The Lord has already dealt with him and he is where he should be for eternity.

  • haggis basher Jan 6, 2010

    "Instead, we spent a HUGE amount of money trying to preserve a critically injured, chronically ill, 89 year old man for a trial on earth"

    Thats called the "rule of law"....and we are all better for its existence.

    "when the true trial came right after he finally died."

    I think you need to read the OT again.....God has little against genocide.....look what he had done to the people of Jericho...........

  • Glass Half Full Jan 6, 2010

    The shame is that a single taxpayer penny was spent on his care at all. His injuries were severe enough that if he had simply been left alone, he would have died long ago. Instead, we spent a HUGE amount of money trying to preserve a critically injured, chronically ill, 89 year old man for a trial on earth when the true trial came right after he finally died.