New York Times
James W. von Brunn, who was accused of fatally shooting a security guard at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in June, died on Wednesday at a hospital in North Carolina, near the federal prison where he was being held. He was 89.
His court-appointed lawyer, A. J. Kramer, said Mr. von Brunn had died of natural causes after having a history of chronic diseases. “He had been bedridden,” Mr. Kramer said. “He had never really recovered the use of his legs, and it was a continual deterioration of his health.”
Mr. von Brunn, who had been known to the authorities for anti-Semitic and white supremacist views before the museum shooting, was indicted in July on charges including first-degree murder in the death of a museum guard, Stephen T. Johns.
On June 10, after double-parking his car outside the museum, Mr. von Brunn walked up to the building carrying a rifle and shot Mr. Johns in the upper chest at close range as the guard was opening the door for him, the authorities said. Two security guards fired back, wounding Mr. von Brunn in the right ear.
Law enforcement officers said they found in Mr. von Brunn’s car a notebook in which he had written anti-Semitic statements. The F.B.I. said it had known that he had an “established Web site that expressed hatred of African-Americans and Jews.”
A federal court hearing in the case had been delayed while Mr. von Brunn was hospitalized. He was transferred to the medical center at the Butner Federal Correction complex, 30 miles from Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 25.
At the time of the shooting, officials said, Mr. von Brunn had been living in an apartment in Annapolis, Md., with his son, Erik, and his son’s fiancée.
The Holocaust Museum did not comment directly on Mr. von Brunn’s death, but used the occasion to invoke the memory of Mr. Johns.
“The museum’s thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns’s family at this time,” the museum said in a statement. “Officer Johns died heroically defending the museum, visitors and staff.”