Alexandra Poolos and Alyssa Caplan
Scott Aulbach flipped on the news when he finally got back to his Atlanta hotel room after a long day of training for his company. And suddenly he saw splashed across CNN a picture of his former roommate, James von Brunn. He was horrified to hear police reports that von Brunn was the man who walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington with a rifle, and shot police officer Stephen Jones before being shot and apprehended by other officers.
Horrified. But not completely surprised.
"I heard something about a shooting at the Holocaust [museum] and the next thing I seen is his picture. I knew it was him."
Aulbach says von Brunn was his roommate for about six months in 2004. Aulbach had already been living with his friend Eric von Brunn, James von Brunn's son. Aulbach says neither he nor Eric von Brunn were white supremacists. In fact, Aulbach says Eric and his mother - divorced from James von Brunn - are wonderful people. But they heard plenty of supremacist rants from Eric's father.
Below are notes from our conversations with Aulbach in preparation for his interview with Anderson. AC360° producer David Puente also contributed to these questions. This evening, we will hear from Scott again as we take a special look at hate in America in our one-hour special, American Radical: The Lone Wolf, on AC360° at 10p ET. Please join us.
1. Scott, how long did you live with James von Brunn. What was he like?
He lived with us for about 6 months in Orlando in 2004. At first he seemed like a nice and polite older person in his early 80s. One day he sat me down and said something like, I want to tell you about me going into the Federal Reserve with a gun and knife. I didn't have a bomb, he says but I wanted to kill everyone in the building. James didn't like Blacks and really didn't like Jews. He thought interest rates were high and government was screwing the working man. He said when he was younger where he worked at a company where they promoted Jews over him. The man used to holler 88 real loud.out of the blue.His son said the letter H is the 8th letter in the alphabet. So 88 stands for HH or 'Heil Hitler.' So he can say 88 in public without a problem.and I think he's 88 now so that caught my attention.
2. How long did you live with him before you found out he was a racist?
About 3 months.after I found out it was an everyday thing. Always a racial remark against Blacks, Jews, Hispanics. He didn't want to go out of the box. He always made the statement.he'd "GO OUT IN BLAZE OF GLORY".that was a known statement in the house. We never knew what he meant by that. I asked his son and he didn't know or he just wouldn't say anything. He didn't believe in God.and made statements that he didn't believe in banks.
3. What were some of the most outrageous statements he made in front of you?
Hitler should have killed all the Jewish people when he had the chance.
They should kill all (N word) and Jews.
When he would go to the grocery store he'd comment about those f*in N word.
4. Scott, what was his relationship with his son Eric like?
Not good. One time there was a physical altercation, his son busted his nose. That argument was about drinking heavily and he was trying to tell his son how to live his life. The son was low on finances and father saying you shouldn't be low funds if you have a good job..Eric was a good guy, a real good friend. Eric had resentment towards his father about his dad being away like when he went to prison.
5. Scott: Do you think he took this action now that he is 88 to "go out in a blaze" as he used to say and because he associated his age with something?
I don't know. I just think it's pretty weird.
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