A spate of gunfire erupted at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this afternoon, with two men injured and transported to area hospitals. The shooter is reported to be James W. Von Brunn, a white supremacist. Both Von Brunn and a member of the USHMM Security Force were taken to George Washington University Hospital in critical condition.
14th Street has been shuttered in the area (between Constitution and D St SW), leading to major traffic snarls around the artery (link to Traffic Camera at 14th & E) as police response and investigations continue. A third man has been taken to the hospital, according to WTOP, after being injured from flying glass.
Update 23 [5:10p] We’re going to wrap our live coverage at this time. We’ll pick up additional updates in a new entry later this evening.
Update 22 [4:42p] The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is confirming the death of Officer Johns, a six-year veteran of the Security Force at the USHMM. The museum will be closed tomorrow in honor of Officer Johns. In addition, flags will be flown at half-staff at the Museum.
Update 21 [4:40p] The Washington Post has republished the 1983 article about Von Brunn’s sentencing, with some details about the attempted kidnapping of the Federal Reserve Board.
Update 20 [4:32p] WUSA9 identifies the security guard as Stephan Tyrone Johns. He was fatally wounded at the Holocaust Memorial Museum this afternoon just a bit before 1pm.
Update 19 [4:22p] Many thanks to Karen, who pointed us at Von Brunn’s Wikipedia User Page biography, which largely mirrors the site from earlier today.
Update 18 [4:18p] Former Secretary Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart are on CNN now. They’re talking with him about his viewing. He was right out front of the Museum when it happened. He was 30-40 feet away when the incident occurred.
Update 17 [4:05p] WUSA 9 is reporting that the Security Guard at the Holocaust Museum has died, due to his injuries sustained at the scene. CNN has confirmed this as well.
Update 16 [3:25p] Clinton Administration Defense Secretary William Cohen was in the entry to the museum when the incident occured. His wife Janet Langhart was to have performed her one-act play, an imagined conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, this evening at the Museum.
Update 15 [3:23p] Have now updated initial story.
Update 14 [3:00p] While we don’t have formal confirmation of Von Brunn as the shooter, there is more information available on him if you search via his email address which pretty much confirms the guy is an anti-semite and a whackjob.
Update 13 [2:46] Chief of Police and Mayor Fenty are stepping up to the microphone to give a briefing.
Mayor Fenty: Chief of Staff of the Museum is on hand and will answer question. He’s wrapping up the information we already know. Shooter opener fire first, and fire was returned by security. The Security guard is in “grave condition” at GW Hospital. DC is working with the FBI.
Chief Lanier: All information is preliminary so far. Repeat of initial information. An off-duty MPD officer entered the scene and was supported by US Park Police and Security and rendered aid to the victims until they were transported. This appears to be a single act, not a part of a large plan of terror. This area will remain closed for an extended period of time. Traffic WILL open soon. More on this in a moment.
Chief Lanier will not confirm the identity of the shooter as reported below.
FBI representative: We had no prior knowledge of an event like this at the USHMM. We will develop the facts through the evening and have a press conference in the morning. We will work through the night
Chief of Staff, USHMM, Bill Parsons: Never take your guard force for granted. They did exactly what they were supposed to do to protect people at the museum. Our hearts go out to the guard and his family. The museum will be closed the rest of the day and will be open tomorrow. We don’t have information regarding a threat.
Chief Lanier is being very noncommittal in her responses regarding the individual here. Will not give anything on shooter or guard, motives, number of shots fired.
Mayor Fenty: This is an isolated incident. The security guards performed very well. You never know when someone will grab a gun and use it in an inappropriate way. This was a lone gunman.
There will be a local traffic briefing now.
DDot Director Gabe Klein: We closed 14th Street Bridge, northbound, all lanes have been reopened at this time. All major arterials are open, except 14th from Constitution to D Streets.
Update 12 [2:44] PRTC’s website is reporting that all the OmniRide buses (generally dependent on the 14th Street Bridge) are now operating on the Emergency Service Plan for the rest of the day.
Update 11 [2:37] Commencing reverse chronological update and promoted this entry to Feature status. Sorry for the metaupdate, but we’ll now put newest updates on the top.
Update 10 [2:35] Via Katie & DC Alert: “Street closures due to police activity: NB/SB 14th St Brge to Indep Ave SW, IB 14th St SW HOV lanes, SB 14th St SW – Const Ave SW, WB 12th St & C St SW, WB Indep Ave SW from 12th St SW, SB 15th St SW from Indep Ave SW.”
Update 9 [2:31] White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs is reporting that President Obama is “concerned,” about the event and the health of the security guard. No new information via the Press Conference.
Update 8 [2:25] This photo of Von Brunn is via his website:
Photo is currently down due to his site being down.
Update 7 [2:09p] A quick search on the name given by NBC comes up with this Anti-Semitic site, purportedly written by Von Brunn. Wow. This stuff is pretty crazy, so put on your helmet and goggles for this one. Also read his report about trying to place the Federal Reserve board of directors under arrest in 1981. Trying to find archival news about the same.
Update 6 [2:04p] NBC News is reporting that the shooter is a white male approximately 90 years of age. NBC is reporting the name as James W. Von Brunn. Born in 1920, and has some connection to anti-government/white-supremacist organizations.
Update 5 [1:53p] WJLA is interviewing a police spokesman, Sergeant David Schlosser of the Park Police. They’re currently sweeping the museum. A “long gun” was used by the assailant, who fired on the security. Two other security officers returned fire at the assailant. The initial security guard who was shot, as well as the assailant, were transported to GW Hospital. Both the assailant and the security guard are in serious condition.
Update 4 [1:43p] WTOP has spoken with DC Police spokeswoman Traci Hughes, who identified the firearm of the assailant as a rifle, and confirmed that two security guards returned fire after being fired upon.
Update 3 [1:41p] CNN is interviewing witnesses at this time, 5 shots were exchanged between the security and the assailant.
Update 2 [1:38p] CNN is now reporting that the firearm used was a shotgun, and the incident took place at the entrance to the Holocaust Museum, where the magnetometers are. Both the victim and assailant have been transported to George Washington Hospital.
Update 1 [1:35p]: CNN just interviewed Alan Etter from DC FD, he was very reluctant to break any news, deferring frequently to the DC Police. CNN was apparently was not able to interview DC Police at this time.