U.S. District Court Hearing on Holocaust Museum Shooting Scheduled for Today

By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 15, 2009

A hearing in U.S. District Court is scheduled for this afternoon to update the court on the health of James W. von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist charged with murder in the shooting death of a security officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and to determine how to proceed with the case, officials said yesterday.

Authorities said von Brunn shot Stephen T. Johns in the chest with a rifle shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday at the museum's 14th Street entrance. Two other guards immediately returned fire, and von Brunn was struck in the face, authorities said.

At a hearing Thursday, authorities told the court that von Brunn was in "critical but stable condition" at George Washington University Hospital and that he would probably survive.

Authorities said Von Brunn, of Annapolis, had double-parked a red 2002 Hyundai on 14th Street and walked to the museum entrance with a rifle at his side. Johns, 39, of Temple Hills, opened the door for von Brunn, who lifted his .22-caliber rifle and fired, authorities said.

He lifted his rifle as if to fire again, authorities said, and two other guards, Harry Weeks, a 27-year veteran of the D.C. police force, and Jason McCuiston, a former Marine and police officer, immediately fired back. After Von Brunn was hit, authorities said, he fell back out the door.

The museum was closed Thursday in honor of Johns. It reopened Friday and had more than 8,500 visitors, which is more than usual, museum officials said.

In a statement to ABC News and in an interview with The Washington Post last week, Erik von Brunn said he wished that it had been his father who died instead of Johns. "It was unjustified and unfair that he died, and while my condolences could never begin to offer appeasement, they, along with my remorse is all I have to give," he said in the statement.

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