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Shooting at Holocaust Museum in Washington (update)

June 10, 2009 | 11:05 am


An elderly man with believed ties to neo-Nazi groups opened fire today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, killing one guard.

James W. Von Brunn, 88, who hails from Maryland, reportedly entered the museum shortly before 1 p.m. EDT, took out what appeared to be a rifle and fired at a security guard. Two other security guards returned fire, striking the shooter, according to reports.

A third person was injured from flying glass.

One of the security guards, Stephen Tyrone Johns, died after being taken to nearby George Washington University Hospital. The museum, which immediately closed its doors to the public, said it will remain closed Thursday in honor of Johns. 

A popular tourist destination with 1.7 million visitors per year, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is located on the National Mall, near the Washington Monument and the White House. The gunman's car was found parked near the museum by police who said that the vehicle was filled with explosives.

The museum normally has guards positioned inside and outside the building. Visitors must pass through metal detectors and have their bags screened after passing through the lobby, where the shooting took place.

Von Brunn created an anti-Semitic website called Holy Western Empire, which had been taken down by this afternoon.

Read the full L.A. Times story about the shooting here.

-- David Ng

Photo: The exterior of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Credit: Max Reid / USHMM