City Desk

Shooting At Holocaust Museum; Alleged Perp James Von Brunn Had Criminal Record

5:28 p.m. Update: Von Brunn appears to be the classic drifter with stops in New York City, Maryland, Florida, California, New Hampshire and back to Maryland. NY Daily News interviews his ex-wife: "'He used to make the statement that he was going out with his boots on,' she said."

"Because of the arson attack in California, we were afraid for the baby's safety — and our own. We bought a house near Hanover, NH. I acquired a real estate broker's shingle. I listed several commercial properties including a Holiday Inn, and some prime acreage. Again, money was tight. Brokers were folding their tents. I supplemented my income by free-lancing layouts for local advertisers and an ad agency there. I sold two oils at a Dartmouth exhibit; another was stolen. In the evening I used Dartmouth library to research the Federal Reserve System. I met a conservative professor of Economics and knew I was on to something after learning the FED was a private corporation. Unable to earn a living, I was now on the run.

My wife, despairing of my unprofitable obsession, wanted to return to Maryland, which we had fled 10 years earlier. In Maryland I placed my R-E brokers license with Coldwell Banker, in Annapolis. Brokers in Maryland also were falling like autumn leaves. I set a record for listings, but interest rates discouraged buyers. Banks were foreclosing, repossessing valuable properties for a song. I attended a real-estate brokers' meeting in D.C. Paul Volcker, FED Chairman, was keynote speaker. One of his memorable remarks to the large nervous audience was: "You guys are going to hate me because tomorrow I'm going to bankrupt you." Sure enough, there followed a repeat of the Florida fiasco. Prime-rate was raised and America was plunged into an even deeper depression. 'Kill the Best Gentiles !'"

4:30 p.m. Update: City Desk just obtained the police report filed in Superior Court from Von Brunn's kidnapping case. It reads:

"On 12-7-81, [unreadable] at approximately 1155 hours the defendant entered the Federal Reserve Board located at 20th and C St. NW, went to the second floor of that location and was confronted by W-1 [witness one], who is employed at that location as a security guard. The defendant then placed a .38 Smith and Wesson, five shot revolver in W-1's stomach. W-1 [called]  other security personnel for assistance and the defendant was eventually disarmed."

The police account goes on to state:

"Also confiscated from the defendant were a Remington 12 gauge shotgun, which he had concealed under his coat, a hunting knife, and a camera case which the defendant advised contained a bomb. Only books were found in the camera case.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Department were summoned and the defendant was subsequently arrested.

After being advised of the miranda warning the defendant gave a written statement (See PD 118) advising that his actions were politically motivated and that he intended to take the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and its members hostage in order to allow to voice his opinions over the media."

The police document notes that Von Brunn refused his one phone call.

4:22 p.m. Update: Superior Court: Von Brunn in his kidnapping case dumped his first defense attorney and tried to fight case pro se. He eventually got another defense attorney in the summer of '82.

4:02 p.m. Update Von Brunn writes about getting a DWI on the Eastern Shore:

"At the police station they said I was arrested for DWI. I said that I wanted my attorney contacted. They said first you're going to be booked. I had never been arrested before. I didn't like the idea of giving them my fingerprints and being photographed. They insisted. It was hot. I was getting drunker. There were five cops and the Sheriff. They insisted. I refused. They grappled me up from the chair and slammed me face to the wall. When they pulled me around there was the Sheriff with his Polaroid. I hit the camera out of his hands. The cops were all over me with mace and clubs. They kicked me down the stairs, then locked me up....

"I lost my drivers license. Lost my presidency at the Academy. My family was mortified. I was humiliated and ashamed. I raked the leaves in the prison yard, worked on Judge Mace's homestead. He regularly used State labor, and State materials to fill and maintain his driveway, paint his house, tend his garden and foliage. I developed a staph infection in my neck. The prison doctor recommended that I be released immediately. I served about 4 months."

After he got out, Von Brunn writes that he got a call from an old cellmate with an idea:

"I received a telephone call from Frankie Lew. He had occupied a cell next to mine in Cambridge. Frankie was a water man. His grip powerful as a steel trap, his hands gnarled, calloused, the fingers permanently bent from handling oyster tongs most of his life. He was about 35, his face scarred from barroom brawls where chains and pool cues were favorite weapons. He hated "nigras." He told me he'd go to Ocean City and wait for a mixed couple to appear on the Boardwalk. He'd scoot up ahead of them, then u-turn. When he approached the nigra he'd jam a knife into the guys gut. The Negro wouldn't feel it, kept walking till he collapsed. Frankie said he wanted to come up and see me."

It's unclear whether the two ever went through with the Ocean City plot.

Eventually there is this bit of racism from his long bio:

"Over my years of adversity, it became clear to me that a JEW strategy had emerged: "Kill the Best Gentiles !" The tactics were WAR & DEBT. My father's generation struggled through the Great War "to end all wars" and the Great Depression. One of my uncles was forced to take in washing and iron laundry. A dear family friend stole from the market to keep his young family fed. One of my father's boyhood pals shot himself, another attached a hose to the tailpipe of his auto and gassed himself. My Brit father-in-law, a Sandhurst grad, Oxford student and RFC officer, stole food from the A&P so his family could survive. I had earned decent wages in NYC but I was never financially secure. I was chased from one job to another for not genuflecting before God's Chosen. When a Jew CEO deliberately farts in a business meeting, to express his contempt, I seem to react unfavorably."

3:58 p.m. Update Von Brunn writes of his failed kidnapping attempt:

"Over the years Revisionists have asked me to write about my effort in 1981 to place the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System (FED), under legal, non-violent citizens-arrest. The subject resides in my memory like old road-kill. What could have been a slam-bang victory turned into ignoble failure. Recalling all of this presents an onerous task. I am getting near the end of the diving board."

3:54 p.m. Update Salon has Von Brunn in his own words describing motivations behind '81 kidnapping attempt.

3:36 p.m. Update Nexis records show Von Brunn lives in an apartment in Annapolis, Maryland. At least he did in 2007. Before 2007, he lived in Easton, Maryland. DOB: 1920. His possible e-mails (via We Love DC).

3:29 p.m. Update According to a subsequent Post piece in '83, a D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced Von Brunn to a minimum term of "more than four years" for attempting kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board in 1981. The Post goes on to state that Von Brunn told authorities he wanted to hold board members accountable for country's economic woes.

3:18 p.m. Update: Eerie. This is the Post account of Von Brunn's trial in '83:

"A D.C. Superior Court jury yesterday convicted a New Hampshire man of attempting to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board, stemming from a 1981 incident in which the man was arrested at the board's headquarters carrying several weapons.

According to police, James Von Brunn, 61, of Lebanon, N.H., told them after his arrest that he wanted to take board members hostage....

Von Brunn entered the board's headquarters at 21st Street and Constitution Avenue NW with a bag slung over his shoulder. He was captured by a guard after running to the second floor, where the board was meeting. He was detained outside the board room and was carrying a revolver, a hunting knife and a sawed-off shotgun, police said.

The jury yesterday convicted Von Brunn of attempted kidnaping while armed, second-degree burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a pistol without a license and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon."

2:55 p.m. Update: James W. Von Brunn's records in D.C. Superior Court show he was found guilty by a jury on March 2, 1983 after being charged with Assault w/ Deadly Weapon (gun) and Armed Burglary. It appears that there were 15 counts charged by prosecutors. The case opened in June 9, 1982. It is unclear what sentence he received but he was sentenced to a period of confinement. Check below for his own crazy-ass take on his Superior Court experience.

2: 41 p.m. Update MSNBC confirms name of alleged shooter: James W. Von Brunn.

2:10 p.m. Update: Shooter is allegedly a white male born in 1920. Sources: here. Alleged man's alleged's name: James W. Von Brunn. We Love DC comes up with some anti-Semitic stuff on a website by Von Brunn.

Website is full of hate; Holocaust written in quotes.

2:04 p.m. Update: Washington Post updates its piece on the Holocaust Museum shooting with witness interviews:

One witness, Dave Unruh, of Wichita, Kan., said he was waiting to enter the museum when he heard one gunshot, then a sequence of four or five gunshots. He said he then heard someone scream, "Hit the floor!." He and his wife, Karen, and their two teenage grandchildren hit the floor and were subsequently herded out of the building by authorities.

1:57 p.m. Update: CNN is reporting that a private security guard and another person were shot in the early afternoon at the Holocaust Museum. Both were taken to G.W. Hospital and are in serious condition:

Dave Pearson, a 6th grade teacher in the Washington, D.C., area, said he was on the museum's fourth floor when he heard a loud noise.

"At the time, we're visiting and all of a sudden there's like a boom, and all of a sudden they told us to stop where we're at," he told CNN's Ed Henry.

On the alleged shooter's alleged name's website, there's a bio. So far I haven't seen this guy confirmed as the alleged shooter. But here it is apparently written by the man himself. I'm only taking part of it:

"In 1981 Von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; 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 appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison."

WJLA is reporting that a gunman walked into the Holocaust Museum and started shooting. There are reports that two people were wounded.

"At least two people are wounded after a shootout at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Southwest Washington Wednesday afternoon, D.C. police assistant Chief Diane Groomes told ABC 7 News. Groomes said one person was shot inside the building and one person was shot outside. A third person may have been wounded.

D.C. police spokeswoman Traci Hughes says a person walked into the museum with a rifle and shot a guard. Hughes says the shooter was also shot."

WTOP is reporting that the suspect was fired upon and shot by two security guards inside the museum. A third person was injured by flying glass. Both suspect and guard were taken to G.W. Hospital.

AP is reporting that there was a possible third shooting victim.

The Washington Post reports that police were notified at 12:52 p.m. about the shooting:

"U.S. Park Police said a gunman opened fire on the security guard and that other security guards returned fire. The gunman was reported wounded.

The shooting was reported to police at 12:52 p.m., and officers rushed to the scene just south of Independence Ave. bordering the Mall.

D.C. Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter said there was no immediate information on the shooter. Nor was it immediately clear serious the injuries were..."

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  • new_york_loner

    You gotta wonder, why would an 89-year-old anti-Semite suddenly snap? Who or what set off the rage? There has to be a lot more to this story; how deep will the MSM dig?

  • Scorpio Redhead

    Good observation new york loner. Scary how many more nuts may be set off by the troubled times we live in.

  • cannonbones

    I really dislike these hate filled wackos. They need their own planet to live on. I think an 89 year old hate monger snaps now because there is nothing we/legal system can do to him. He is 89. Death Row? Life in prison? He has nothing to lose.

  • Truth Hurts

    So, everyone lobbying for more guns in DC, I can't wait to hear your twisted spin on this one.

  • Wrack

    Oh, no, Truth Hurts -- you've got it alllll wrong. If only the museum visitors had all been allowed to carry guns for protection, they all could have opened fire on the perp.

    This would have saved the day and made everyone happy.

    Except for the 20 people that would've been shot in the cross-fire. You know, you have to expect a little collateral damage with these things. Because, after all, freedom isn't free. (Freedom now on sale at the hunting section of your local Wal-Mart: $6.99/ea.)

  • Smarter than Truth Hurts

    The strictest gun control law is applied to felons.
    18 USC 922(g) prohibits owning firearms, ammunition, and ammunition components.

    The fact that this racist criminal had possession of firearms just proves the point that gun control doesn't work. Those with intent will get guns while the law abiding citizens will be disarmed and helpess to defend themselves against the criminals.

    No spin, just truth. Does it hurt?

  • Q

    I'm waiting too Truth Hurts. Last week we got an earful on Obama apologizing to terrorists abroad and its impact, when we got DOMESTIC ones right here. Hamas, binLaden, Ahmadinejad, nor Hezbollah put Von Brunn up to this. This is pure hate from a man who probably would've gotten a gun permit due to the age of his case 20+ years ago. Someone of the age to remember WW II and Hitler's defeat.

  • Truth Hurts

    Smarter, folks who parrot "no spin" (aka Fox/O'Reilly) lines don't hurt me. It's a free country, even for those with simple minds. But be truthful (and more creative) with your moniker: no way are you "smarter" than me.

  • Smarter than Truth Hurts

    Why don't you try to stay on subject. Prove how gun control would have worked.

    It's funny how your kind try to shift gears to conservative news. Must be a realization of how weak your position is.

    You mentioned spin in your post. I simply claim to have no spin on the subject. The evidence of you not being able to recall your own post is a point of proof that I am smarter than you.

    No spin, just truth. Does it hurt?

  • Fred

    CP, this is small and I'm sure you'll give me all kinds of s for it, but I thought when you are quoting someone in multiple paragraphs, that you put quotation marks around the start of the first word of the new para to indicate the quotation is continuing.

  • Truth Hurts

    Ok, Dumber than Truth Hurts, you whiffed on amending your moniker. But you did take the bait in my first post. Keep it coming. I love the "no spin" logic. Let's expand on it: The nuclear antiproliferation treaty is designed to protect humanity from nuts obtaining and using weapons that might end the world. Nuts/terrorists/unstable regimes obtain them anyway. Thus, we should abandon this international effort to control/eliminate these weapons because it doesn't work. Right? I'll have my dinner now and let you keep pushing for more guns.

  • Formerly STH

    Truth Hurts:

    Since the moniker was not in good spirit, I have changed it.

    I must admit that you impressed me with nuclear proliferation angle; however, that is not the same scope as you started.

    Attempting to manage who has nuclear technology, particularly keeping it from those who clearly value no life - not even their own, is not the same as attempting to manage who can get a gun. Though I'm willing to concede that some gun owners - the criminals - place less value on life than you or I would.

    So, if we can get back to the basic element where we started, how did gun control help this case?

    It didn't. It never will. Because you can't keep guns out of the hands of a determined criminal. So, why restrict the law-abiding?

    As a side question, do you think antiproliferation will continue to work? As time goes by, more countries are gaining that capability or working toward it. Antiproliferation will probably only continue to work with force. Will you support that force?

  • downtown rez

    Wow. I guess there is no value whatsoever in attempting any improve our performance at any task unless we are certain to achieve 100% perfection at it. Thanks for clearing that up, FSTH

  • Formerly STH

    Probably my last post, but nothing is 100% certain.

    Basically my point is gun control doesn't work though having it in place, as an added element, against criminals makes sense.

    As for antiproliferation, the rogue nations/terrorists/etc. are the same as criminals, but on a much larger scale. Keep the WMDs out of their hands.

    In both cases, be prepared to back it up with force. To do otherwise is foolish.

  • Truth Hurts

    FSTH, I appreciate the moniker change. And, yes, the nuclear proliferation angle was an extreme one. But the same logic could be applied to less extreme matters: eg, people use and sell drugs despite our laws, people steal despite our laws, people commit hate crimes despite ours laws, etc. And you wouldn't argue that such laws should be abandoned because criminals find a way around them. So that's my problem with gun advocates making arguments such as the one you first advanced. And for the record, I never said that gun control laws would've prevented today's horror. For me,fewer guns equal fewer murders, that's all. As for what to do about nukes, that issue is far too complex and nuanced to attempt to answer here.

  • Mac

    The first poster asks why a man that age would suddenly snap. He didn't snap.....he had been building up to this for years. What does gun control have to do with this. Obviously, we do not
    have gun control for anyone at this point. I'd be all for controlling AKAs, Uzis, etc. but the Holy Ones seem to think it is O.K. to kill as long as they kill only minorities or people of a different religion. I wish these radical right people would come forward, give their real names and form their own political party because they have pretty much trashed our Republican Party. Get a life people!

  • Euclidian

    I'm guessing that this will be another case where a right-wing terrorist is labelled a lone crazy and no further arrests are made. To cite the most obvious example, the Oklahoma City bombers palled around with plenty of Klan members and assorted fascists, but for some reason the Feds declined to round them all up. It's like my main man W says: Either you are with us or your against us. We need to drop the hammer on ALL these guys the same way we do with foreign terrorists. Otherwise things like this will keep happening.

  • Formerly STH

    Truth Hurts:

    You're right about my not wishing to remove many of our laws. However, gun control is an issue. Laws should exist to help people conform to a standard of behavior and not as an imposing of a will. To clarify, you and I are law-abiding citizens. We do not use drugs, steal, kill, set houses on fire, etc, etc. Others do and often commit multiple crimes in a single spree. Responsible, law-abiding people do not set out to commit crime. If we do happen to kill, it's in self-defense. Gun control is an imposition as it takes away my right to own a gun - a right afforded to me by an amendment to the Constitution.

    I am a gun owner. Why do I feel it's necessary to have a gun? Because I know that even though I live in a regular suburb, for some unknown reason it still takes police officers at least 30 minutes to respond to an incident at my house in the dead of night. I don't know about you, but if someone breaks into my house I don't know if I can detain criminals 30 minutes, while keeping my family safe, as we wait for the police.

    Unlike many people, I served in the Marine Corps. I am familiar with my weapon. People can be educated to handle guns safely. If sensible legislation were proposed, I wouldn't have any problems. However, that is not the case. The proposed laws don't mandate that people be required to attend classes or serve their country... just to limit what we can have, if any.

    More people killed in car accidents than by firearms. Should we pass auto control laws? No, that's ridiculous. We not only have people take classes before and pass exams before getting a drivers license but we also require more tests or refreshers when enough points are accumulated. Gun control laws are equally ridiculous. But I don't think as many people would complain to testing. It'd be like a roller-coaster ride - you must be at least this smart to own a gun.

  • The Real Point Is This

    I think you're missing the real point about this case. This is bigger than one poor diluted fool who thought he could take on the Board of Governors single handedly. The real story, minus the racial rhetoric, is as he has put forth in his own words. Granted his character casts a dark shadow over the words I'm about to present, but I would like for each of you to know that he is not the only one to call into question this institution as many, intelligent and freedom loving people, without prejudice and racial hatred of our society have brought up time and time again. This is in his own words:

    " 7 December 1981, 1 hoped to reveal to the American People certain Facts regarding the World Marxist Conspiracy that are suppressed by the mass-media. I attempted to place the FED Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizen's arrest -- supported by D.C. statutes, and by Misprision of Felony statute under U.S. Treason and Sedition Law. I charge the FED with Treason, operation of a Fraudulent Enterprise, and un-Constitutional Private Corporate Operations. I intended to hold the Board prisoners in the Board Room, demand that their fellow conspirators at CBS provide national TV-hookup; then, over TV to figuratively hand over the felons to the American people with an explanation of my charges against the FED. I then intended to hand over the prisoners, unharmed, to the President of the United States. I expected to stand trial in a U.S. Federal District Court, and prove the FED's culpability to a jury of my peers. I expected the jury to find the FED guilty and my citizens arrest of the felons upheld by statute. Thus, We the People would issue a mandate to the Congress of the United States to bring proceeding against the FED, a privately held corporation, under Federal Tort Law.

    I failed to achieve my objectives etc"

    So, he casts the NWO in a different light, but with the same general theme. If you know anything about the Federal Reserve System, then you know what he's saying is the truth. So, regardless of his flawed personal beliefs regarding race, the facts about the FED remain true. They have single handedly bankrupted the United States while utilizing the media to obfuscate that fact by pointing fingers at easy political targets that everyone gets caught up arguing about via endless debates about who's fault it is for the state of affairs without ever really identifying the single most important factor of all: Who controls the money supply of the United States of American and why?

    That question is answered, but without the depth that it needs to be. Now, as civilized people, let's take a better approach to this issue and support H.R.1207 so that we can get some transparency about this issue in a proper format where the American people can ask questions that have so far been shrouded in relative secrecy. Forget every other issue for the moment, Read Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution and ask yourself why have we "given" control of our money supply over to a private banking cartel? Then, you will understand how and already unstable whack job can "go the distance".

  • Truth Hurts

    FSTH: Our exchanges on gun control laws, etc, suggest that reasonable people who listen to one another (without demonizing those with differing perspectives) have a chance of reaching common ground. Not that we're there yet, but we're making progress. BTW, I have family serving abroad in combat zones as I write this.

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  • Sean Raimo

    I agree with the above post. Personally I cannot understand why you would not want to make an effort in this regard anyway. Only the other day, at work we had exactly the same conversation and came to a similar closing