June 10th, 2009
06:48 PM ET

Guard killed during shooting at Holocaust Memorial

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/10/museum.shooting/art.security.guard.museum.jpg caption="Stephen Tyrone Johns was shot and killed while working at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday."]

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A lone gunman killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday before being wounded himself by return fire from other guards, sources confirmed to CNN.

The suspect was identified as James von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist from Maryland, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

The guard was identified as Stephen Tyrone Johns in a statement from the museum.

The gunman entered the museum at 12:50 p.m. with a rifle and immediately shot a museum security guard, said Chief Cathy Lanier of the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department. Two other security guards returned fire, wounding the gunman, she said.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Dereald in Chicago

    The shooting at the Holocaust Museum is sad and my prayers go out to Mr Jones family. Im not trying to sound crazy, but I think he was on a suicide mission. The shooters age was 88 and I’ve read somewhere that racists use the number 88 (the eight letter of the alphabet) 88=HH, which means Heil Hitler. I double checked with Wikipedia if you want to read more.

    June 11, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  2. Kelley Hoolihan

    I teach a class at my high school: World War II and the Holocaust and this man (shooter) served in World War II...how can he deny that the Holocaust happened when our G.I.s liberated many of the camps and documented the evidence on film? What was he trying to accomplish today? My sympathy goes out to the guard's family as he was doing his job in protecting the employees and attendees at the museum. I hope in my job that I can educate a few of my students about the end result of hate that it can result in violence and ultimately genocide.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:21 am |
  3. Randy Schmidt BC, Canada

    I know we all have so many rights in North America to believe what we want and say what we want but when a person openly joins a hate group of any kind they should forfeit the right to bear or possess arms with which to harm those they openly hate. I do not like the idea of joining any group which openly hates another north american citizen who contributes to our great lifestyle. If people in these hate groups want to detract from this great place of North America they should lose something themselves and I believe it should be their right to possess weapons.

    June 11, 2009 at 1:23 am |
  4. nadine

    God Bless Him, for he is a true American Hero. He died protecting people, women, children of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Thank you for your service and please Rest In Peace in God Grace.

    June 11, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  5. Terry Washington State

    Sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Stephen T. Johns family. He is a hero and quite possibly saved other innocents. May this serve to bring about zero tolerance for bigotry. We all need to accept and respect one another for our differences.

    June 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  6. Lizzie

    I agree, what a sad, sad case. The dude was 88 years old. To carry around that much anger all of his days, I am positive he never saw "sunshine". AND, you're so right – the gun didn't make the man use it – the MAN chose the gun to use!

    June 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  7. Morag in Toronto

    When I saw this story unfolding this afternoon the first thing that I thought of is that this nut is 88 years old and really doesn't care if he lives or dies. If he dies during the perpetration of the crime, then I suppose he may even become a hero to all the other white supremists. Maybe, the group he belongs to took a vote and decided since he was so elderly, he should be the one to be the shooter.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  8. Phil in Ohio

    Was the guard wearing a bullet proof vest? If not, why not, especially at the Holocaust Museum which is the object of hatred by violent anti-semites who deny the Holocaust, and where von Brunn protested at museum's opening years ago.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  9. Dee, New York

    How very sad, that in his 88 years on this planet, he never learned to live and let live.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  10. Arachnae

    So when is Sean Hannity et al going to admit that the DHS was right to warn local law enforcement officials about these kinds of nutcases?

    June 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  11. Catherine

    Mr. Sharpton states that a gun is responsible for this crime. NO – a person committed this crime, the gun was only a tool. We have the right to bear arms. This shooter was going to shoot people even if this right is taken away. If we lose right to bear arms, then only the criminals will have guns.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  12. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    Just more proof that hate breeds more hate and violence. Patheticly sad.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  13. Mike in NYC

    Time to bust a move on that hate crimes bill!

    Usually, there's a delay before info on a perp's background is released. Why the rush this time? Was he on someone's watch list?

    June 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm |