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Supremacist to Be Arraigned in Holocaust Museum Shooting

By Del Quentin Wilber and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 9:15 AM

The elderly white supremacist charged with killing a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in June is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Wednesday morning.

James W. von Brunn, 89, is accused of killing security guard Stephen T. Johns after Johns held open the door for him so he could enter the highly popular museum, located near the Mall.

Johns and other guards returned fire, critically wounding von Brunn.

After being hospitalized for more than a week, von Brunn was transferred to a secure ward for D.C. jail inmates at United Medical Center. He so far has not been physically well enough to attend any court hearings. It is not yet clear whether he will appear in U.S. District Court in downtown Washington for Wednesday's hearing, scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

Von Brunn is an admitted white supremacist and anti-Semite who has ranted against Jews and blacks for decades. A seven-count indictment charges him with first-degree murder, hate crimes and gun violations in the June 10 museum shooting. The indictment says von Brunn shot Johns "willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation."

The shooting, which unfolded in broad daylight in a part of Washington that is routinely crowded with tourists, sent shock waves through the nation. It was denounced as a particularly symbolic act of hatred in a place that many consider a sacred space dedicated to eradicating bigotry.

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