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The victims were taken to George Washington University Hospital several miles northwest of the crime scene.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said the shooter is in critical condition.

A third victim was injured by flying glass. The person was treated and released at the scene.

Mr. Johns had worked at the Holocaust Museum as as guard for 6 years.

Investigators think the gunman acted alone and parked his vehicle outside the museum. They also said roughly 4,600 visitors were in the museum at the time of the attack.

Chief Lanier said bomb-detecting dogs are in the area, which is standard procedure after such an incident.

The museum opened in 1993 and since had more than 30 million visitors. Guards are positioned inside and outside and visitors are required to pass through metal detectors at the entrance and bags are screened, according to the museum’s Web site.

Dianne Romano, 59, of Methuen, Mass., was on the museum’s second floor with her husband, Danny, when they looked out a window and saw chaos outside the front doors.

“We saw people outside the building crawling under benches,” she said. “Then someone walked up to us and said, ‘Get away from windows. There’s been shooting.’ ”

Mrs. Romano and a group of other tourists, who were near the end of the museum tour, decided to stay where they were.

“It was very scary,” she said.

Mrs. Romano sent a text message to her daughter that read: “shootings. 911. Turn on the TV.”

Moments later, museum staff came and rushed the Romanos out of the museum through a back entrance.

Once outside, police drove them halfway across the Mall away from the museum, Mr. Romano said.

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