Museum Shooting Suspect Too Ill for Court, Lawyer Says

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Suspect Too Ill to Travel to Court, Lawyer Says

James W. von Brunn, the suspect in last month's deadly shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, remains bed-ridden and unable to appear in court, his attorney told a federal judge yesterday.

Von Brunn, 88, is charged with fatally shooting museum security guard Stephen T. Johns as Johns opened the door for him. Another security guard returned fire, striking von Brunn in the face. The hearing was the second to be delayed because of von Brunn's condition.

A.J. Kramer, von Brunn's government-appointed attorney, said doctors at United Medical Center think that his client should be well enough to attend a hearing later this month. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson set a date of July 30.

After the hearing yesterday, Kramer said he had last spoken to his client Tuesday. Kramer said von Brunn was able to speak occasionally but was "under constant care of the nurses and doctors" in a secure ward for D.C. jail inmates.

Kramer said his client could not be taken to court because he had a tube in his throat.

-- Keith L. Alexander


Petition Seeks Official Report on Man's Death

A national advocacy group has collected more than 500 signatures from District residents on a petition demanding a full accounting from authorities of the shooting death last month of Trey Joyner by U.S. Park Police. Volunteers have been circulating "Justice for Trey Joyner" petitions for the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, a grass-roots group founded in 1991 by the African People's Socialist Party.

Joyner, 24, was shot June 8 in the 1200 block of Holbrook Street NE in the Trinidad neighborhood after plainclothes Park Police officers had received a tip about a man with a gun. Authorities have said that there was a struggle as they tried to arrest Joyner and that he was shot. Park Police said they found a gun at the scene but have declined to answer questions.

Joseph Persichini Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said that the investigation was continuing and that "once complete, results will be turned over to the United States attorney's office for review."

Several officers involved in the incident were placed on paid leave. The Park Police, which has powers to police throughout the District, will not work in the Trinidad neighborhood while the FBI investigation continues.

-- Theola Labbé-DeBose


Washington Latin School Gets Federal Grant

Washington Latin Public Charter School in the District has won a $721,102 grant from a federal program to promote safe schools and healthy students, the U.S. Education Department announced yesterday.

The school is the only one from the Washington region named as a grant recipient this year among schools and school systems from 18 states and the District, which were awarded $32.8 million. None were from Maryland. Albemarle County public schools in the Charlottesville area was the only grant winner in Virginia, receiving $1,456,378.

The program, run by the departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services, sponsors initiatives to prevent violence and alcohol and drug abuse, provide mental health services and other support, and promote early-childhood learning.

-- Nick Anderson

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