The 88-year-old suspect in the murder of a guard at Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Museum is a White supremacist who has a long history of spewing hatred against Blacks and Jews.
Authorities say that James W. von Brunn, who founded the hate site known as “The Holy Western Empire,” strolled past metal detectors at the museum Wednesday and kicked off a shootout that left African American Stephen Tyrone Johns, a six-year veteran of the museum’s security staff, dead.
Johns “died heroically in the line of duty," said museum Director Sara Bloomfield.
Colleagues describe Johns, 39, as “a soft-spoken, gentle giant," reports the Washington Post. He was over 6-feet tall and lived in Temple Hills, MD, a Washington suburb, where he also grew up.
"Obviously there are no words to express our grief and shock over the horrific event that took place at this museum today.”
The shooter timed his assault on the day the museum was to stage a play based on Anne Frank, the Jewish diarist whose 80th birthday would have been Friday, according to authorities.
They say von Brunn immediately shot Johns, who died at George Washington University Hospital. Officers returned fire, hitting von Brunn.
As of last night, he was in critical condition.