- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2009

From combined dispatches

The son of James W. von Brunn said Sunday that his father, who is accused of killing a security guard Wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, had long burdened his family with his white-supremacist views and that he wishes his father would have died in the shooting instead.

Erik von Brunn, 32, said in a statement to ABC News that his father was “a coward unable to come to grips with the fact he threw his and his families’ lives away for an ideology that fostered sadness and anguish.”

James von Brunn, 88, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old security guard Stephen T. Johns, who was black.

In the statement to ABC News, Erik von Brunn said, “I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am it was Mr. Johns, and not my father, who lost [his] life.

“It was unjustified and unfair that he died, and while my condolences could never begin to offer appeasement, they, along with my remorse is all I have to give.”

The son’s statement continued: “His views consumed him, and in doing so, not only destroyed his life, but destroyed our family and ruined our lives as well.”

Authorities say James von Brunn shot the security guard in the chest with a vintage rifle after Mr. Johns opened the door for him. Mr. von Brunn was shot in the face by guards and is expected to survive.

A hearing is set for Monday in a D.C. federal court for a magistrate judge to hear about Mr. von Brunn’s health.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Katherine Schweit said Saturday that government lawyers told court officials that Mr. von Brunn “was in critical, but stable, condition with an expectation of survival.”

Erik von Brunn’s statement to ABC also included words aimed at supporters of his father:

“For the extremists who believe my father is a hero: it is imperative you understand what he did was an act of cowardice. To physically force your beliefs onto others with violence is not brave, but bullying. Doing so only serves to prove how weak those beliefs are. It is simply desperation, reminiscent of a temper tantrum when a child cannot get his way. Violence is a cop out; an easy answer for an ignorant problem.”

He also said to them that his father’s actions “have undermined your ‘movement,’ and strengthened the resistance against your cause.”

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