A gunman entered the lobby of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Wednesday and shot a security guard shortly before 1 p.m., according to the U.S. Park Police.
A gun-battle followed in which security guards immediately shot the attacker, said Sgt. David Schlosser, a Park Police spokesman.
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said the security guards shot the gunman “immediately upon entering the door.”
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Visitors described a chaotic scene inside the museum in which they heard multiple shots, then security guards screaming for them to get to the ground and take cover.
“We heard five shots,” said Rosemary Floccari, 43, visiting from Akron, Ohio, for teachers’ convention. “We thought it was part of an exhibit. Then we realized, it was real.”
The security guard has been identified as Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, who had worked at the museum for 6 years.
The shooter has been unofficially identified James W. von Brunn, of Annapolis, Md.
Click here for more on Mr. von Brunn.
Mr. von Brunn has a Web site holywesternempire.org that includes anti-Semitic and racial statements.
The site also states Mr. von Brunn has a journalism degree from a mid-Western university and served during WWII as a PT-Boat captain.
The site also states he was convicted of a crime in D.C. Superior Court and sentenced by a “Jew judge” to 11 years in prison. He served more than six years, purportedly for attempting to enter the Federal Reserve Board headquarters with a gun, upset over interest rates.
The museum is on the south edge of the city’s downtown near the Potomac River and within blocks of the National Mall and its monuments. The area is a popular tourist destination in the Nation’s capital, especially during the spring.