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White supremacist charged in Holocaust museum shooting

James von Brunn, 89, is accused of murder with a hate-crime designation in the June killing of a security guard at the memorial in Washington. He could face the death penalty.

July 30, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury indicted an 89-year-old white supremacist Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Hate crime charges were added to the case against James von Brunn, who has been hospitalized since the shooting. He could face the death penalty.

Officials say Von Brunn shot and killed museum guard Stephen T. Johns on June 10. Von Brunn was shot in the face by other guards.

A seven-count indictment was handed down Wednesday in U.S. District Court, charging Von Brunn with first-degree murder, killing in a federal building -- charges already lodged against him -- and a new charge of bias-motivated crime.

The indictment accuses Von Brunn of seeking to intimidate Jewish people at the museum.

Authorities say he walked up to the museum carrying a rifle and shot Johns, who was black, as the guard was opening the door for him.

Von Brunn had a racist, anti-Semitic website and wrote a book titled "Kill the Best Gentiles," alleging a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the white gene pool." He also claimed that the Holocaust was a hoax.

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