James von Brunn charged
30 July 2009
James Von Brunn, an 89-year-old white supremacist, was indicted on murder and hate crimes charges by a grand jury in connection with his shooting attack at the US Holocaust Museum on June 10.
In a statement, the US Justice Department said the octogenarian, who killed a security guard when he opened fire at the Washington DC museum, would appear before a federal judge on Thursday.
He faces seven charges, including murder, gun law violations and hate crimes violations.
"If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Four of the counts in the indictment also are death penalty eligible," the Justice Department said in a statement.
The indictment accuses Von Brunn of "willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation and malice" committing first degree murder.
It also alleges that he carried out the shooting attack with "prejudice" based "on the actual or perceived race and religion of another" and that he violated gun laws.
On June 10, at 1:00 pm local time, Von Brunn entered the Holocaust Museum in downtown Washington DC's central tourist zone near the White House and opened fire.
He seriously injured Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, a black security guard who later died of his wounds.
As visitors panicked and ran for cover, other security guards at the museum returned fire and seriously wounded Von Brunn, who was taken to hospital in critical condition.
A resident of Maryland, which borders Washington DC, Von Brunn was an unapologetic racist, who described the United States on his blog as "a Third-World racial garbage-dump -- stupid, ignorant, dead broke and terminal."
He served time in prison after entering the US Federal Reserve in 1981 carrying a shotgun, saying he was going to carry out a citizen's arrest.
According to his ex-wife, his hatred of Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer."
Experts on hate groups say they have seen a resurgence in their activities since the election in November 2008 of Barack Obama, the first black president in US history.