Posted at 9:16 AM ET, 06/11/2009

Outside the Museum This Morning

Incoming traffic from Virginia on 14th St. headed north passed by the Holocaust Museum this morning just beore 9 a.m., some cars slowing to catch a glimpse of the police scene out front.

Two large white trucks stamped "Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office, were parked just north of the museum entrance. Yellow police tape roped off the sidewalk of the museum and several D.C. police cars parked out front.

Federal workers passed on their way to their offices, many slowing to absorb the early morning scene.

Shabazz Bryant, a material handler for the Dept. of Agriculture -- which is across the street from the museum -- said he heard the shots yesterday when he was outside smoking a cigarette and he ran the other way.

"It's terrible. I'm used to hearing gunshots where I live," said Bryant, who lives right outside Southeast Washington in Temple Hills, Md, "But not here, not downtown."

-- Theola Labbé-DeBose

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Posted at 9:06 AM ET, 06/11/2009

Does Holocaust Shooting Validate Homeland Security Report?

From Ed O'Keefe at the Federal Eye blog:

Did that controversial Homeland Security report on right-wing extremists get it right? Several bloggers, commentators and news reports suggest it did, accurately predicting the deadly shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
"Civil rights activists say a string of recent attacks blamed on right-wing extremists, including Wednesday's shooting at the Holocaust Museum, show that conservative critics were too quick to fault the Department of Homeland Security over an April report warning about the potential for such violence," reports Politico.

Read the full post at the Federal Eye.

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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 06/11/2009

Video: Locals, Visitors React to Shooting

Video from The Post's Pierre Kattar.

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Posted at 8:57 AM ET, 06/11/2009

Press Conference at 11 a.m. Today

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and officials from the National Park Police, FBI and Metropolitan Police Dept. are expected to appear at a press conference at 11 a.m. to discuss yesterday's shooting. Stay tuned to for coverage.

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Posted at 7:05 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Q&A, Thursday at 11:30 a.m.: Overcoming Anti-Semitism

Following the shooting Wednesday of a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum by a white supremacist, Dr. Walter Reich, a former director of the museum, takes your questions about about violence and hate crimes, the cultural impact of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism and more.

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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Video: Fenty, Witnesses Describe Shooting

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Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Audio: Holocaust Museum Scholar on Shooting

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Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Gray: Shooting Renews Need For D.C. Gun Control Laws

From D.C. Wire:

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said today's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum unfortunately highlights the need for the District to fight for its gun control laws.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) announced yesterday that Congressional leaders were giving up efforts to get a D.C. voting rights bill approved because city leaders would not accept an amendment that would do away with the District's gun-control laws.

Gray said the city, as the nation's capitol, can draw armed extremists and "makes people uniquely vulnerable."

"It's hard for me to realize why anyone would want to make this an easier place to have guns," Gray said. "If anything, it should be more secure."

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Posted at 5:32 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Blogger Cites Von Brunn's 'Long History' of Hate

Here is some excerpted discussion on James Von Brunn from today's live online chat with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch Blog:

Fairfax, Va.: Are any of his mentioned credentials legit or is this hateful person a wannabe?
Heidi Beirich: He's definitely legitimate. Von Brunn has a decades-long history of extremism and he went to prison in 1981 for trying to kidnap members of the federal reserve that he thought were involved in an anti-Semitic conspiracy.
Vienna, Va.: Is this guy really 88 years old? At that age a lot of malefactors are sent home from prison because they no longer constitute a threat. How unusual is this?!
Heidi Beirich: It's the first such case that I know of.
Jackson, Miss.: Is the more correct term for this man a "Neo-Nazi" than "white supremacist?" I see a Holocaust denier and Hitler worshipper more than a Klan type. While undeniably opposed to blacks, he seems fixated on AntiSemitism. And a big shout out to Mark, a wealth of information whom I did not know was at SPLC.
Heidi Beirich: I'll send the shout out alone. The truth is with this guy that he melded many ideologies in one--neo-Naziism, Holocaust denial and guttural racism. It was a nasty stew that he celebrated.
Franconia, Va.: How typical is this man? Specifically he seems to be "all talk" and essentially nonviolent for years or decades at a time, then he does something very criminal (convicted for the would-be kidnapping at the Federal Reserve in early 1980s, now this, "allegedly"). I would have thought a person would be more consistently violent or consistently "just" a talker but that isn't the pattern here. Are there a lot of potentially violent guys in their late 80s and early 90s who are likely to do the same, or is his age unusual for someone to actually commit such a crime?
Heidi Beirich: His age makes him an outlier. But we do have many examples of people who looked like talkers for years until they exploded in rage. A good example is Eric Rudolf, the Olympic bomber, who was a raging anti-Semite for most of his life and who then decided to become violent.
Washington, DC: Is the alleged shooter in this case someone on SPLC's radar or just some random hater with a gun?
Heidi Beirich: We've know about him for years--he has a really long history in the hate movement.

Read the full chat transcript.

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Posted at 5:19 PM ET, 06/10/2009

Holocaust Museum Issues Statement on Shootings

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum issued the following statement on today's shootings:

"Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty today. There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events. He served on the Museum's security staff for six years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns' family.
We have made the decision to close the Museum tomorrow in honor of Officer Johns, and our flags will be flown at half mast in his memory."

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