The lunch hour was almost over. It was hot and humid. People walked back to their places of work, eager to get out of the heat and into air-conditioned buildings. Eighty-eight year old James Wenneker von Brunn steered his car into a parking place near the 14th Street entrance of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. It was June 10, 2009.
Von Brunn double-parked his car. It didn’t matter, because he knew he wouldn’t be coming back. The car would be towed. Then it would sit in some impound yard, waiting to be claimed. It would never be claimed.
The old man got out of the car and walked toward the building. He carried something long and slender in his right hand.
Seeing the elderly gentleman approaching the entrance, Stephen Tyron Johns politely opened the door and held it. Johns was a museum security guard. His job was to protect the premises and all those in it. Johns liked his job and he liked people, so he instinctively held the door open.
Von Brunn raised a .22 caliber rifle and shot Johns at point blank range. Mortally wounded, Johns sank to the floor like a wet sock.
Two nearby security guards heard the gunshot and saw Johns fall. Pulling their pistols, the two guards fired at the man with the rifle. Bullets hit him. Von Brunn dropped his rifle and clasped his wound. Blood bubbled over his hands.
Within minutes, the D.C. police, the U.S. Park Police and the FBI Terrorism Task Force had surrounded the building. Dressed in black and wearing body armor, they bristled with weapons. The building was evacuated, including large numbers of visiting schoolchildren, who had arrived in yellow buses.
Von Brunn was placed under arrest. A search of his person turned up a notebook. The notebook had the names and locations of other buildings written in it. One of the buildings listed was the National Cathedral. Bomb squads were sent to ten of the buildings in von Brunn’s notebook.
Von Brunn had written a message in the notebook. At the end of the message von Brunn had scrawled his signature. The message read: “You want my weapons – this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Jews captured America’s money. Jews control the mass media. The 1st Amendment is abrogated henceforth.”
James von Brunn had obviously gone off the deep end.
The FBI searched von Brunn’s apartment, where they discovered another rifle, ammunition, computers, a hand-written last will and testament, along with a painting of Jesus Christ standing next to Adolf Hitler.
Who was James von Brunn and how did he come to this?
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, von Brunn was a good student, who was artistically inclined. As a child, his dream was to become a famous painter. Later, he attended the University of Washington, where he played varsity football and joined a fraternity. Most of his friends thought of him as handsome and athletic. His dream of being a painter had fallen by the wayside. He majored in Journalism.
During World War II, he served in the Navy, commanding a PT boat. His crew respected him, for he was handsome and fearless and brave, caring for others more than himself. He received three battle stars. After the war, von Brunn got a job in advertising in New York City. Because he was smart and talented, he was soon a successful executive. In the 1960s, he moved to Maryland, where he became involved in Christian Identity, because he didn’t like the way the country was going. No one knew their place anymore. Everyone claimed they had ‘rights.’ It became a movement. Civil rights! Something had to be done. White people needed to stand up and say something or else the whole country would go right down the toilet. Christian Identity was the only hope.
Much later, after he retired, he lived in Hayden Lake, Idaho, in 2004 and 2005. Up until 2001, Hayden Lake had been the headquarters of the Aryan Nations, which was a neo-Nazi, white supremacist group.
At the time of the museum shooting, von Brunn lived in Annapolis, Maryland. He had moved back to what he knew. He was more comfortable in the East.
Von Brunn had an extensive criminal record. In 1966, after a fight in a restaurant, he was pulled over by police. The police determined that he was drunk and arrested him for driving under the influence. He got off with a fine. Two years later, he spent six-months in jail for resisting arrest.
James von Brunn decided that something needed to be done. No more talk. It was time to put up or shut up. The U.S. government was nothing more than the puppet of Jewish puppet masters. White Americans had lost all their God-given rights. So von Brunn determined he would take up the hood of Phineas, becoming a lone warrior. The honor of God had to be protected.
In 1981, von Brunn walked into the Federal Reserve’s Eccles Building armed with a loaded revolver, a knife and a sawed-off shotgun. He was there to make a citizen’s arrest of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors for treason. They were responsible for “high interest rates.”
Threatening a security guard with the revolver, von Brunn was jumped from behind by other security guards and restrained. Von Brunn told the guards he had a bomb. He did not. What he did have, though, was a device that looked like a bomb.
Federal authorities arrested him for attempted kidnapping and hostage-taking. Tried and convicted, von Brunn served 6 and one-half years in prison.
According to von Brunn, he was convicted by “a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals” denied his subsequent appeal. Every word von Brunn spoke reeked of irrational racism.
Nineteen years later, in 2009, once again James von Brunn decided it was time to do something. No more talk. Put up or shut up time. He was 88-years old, miserable, alone and lonely, and had nothing to live for anymore. The very least he could do before he died was protect the Honor of God. So he bought a rifle and some ammunition. Then he drove to Washington, D.C. It was a sunny day. He’d never seen the sky so blue. He felt good, almost young again.
God was watching. Or so von Brunn thought. The Church of Christian Identity had brainwashed him in every sense of the word.
After he murdered Stephen Johns, von Brunn was tried and sentenced to life in prison. They shipped him off to the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina. Von Brunn died in a Butner Hospital on January 6, 2010.