WASHINGTON (AFP)---The 88-year-old man suspected of killing a guard in a shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum Wednesday is a Holocaust-denying white supremacist who went to prison for an attempted attack on the Federal Reserve.
James von Brunn railed in a recent blog posting that "America is a Third-World racial garbage-dump -- stupid, ignorant, dead-broke, and terminal."
He has written a book on the Holocaust, Adolph Hitler, and his views on white superiority, including "Tob Shebbe Goyim Harog," or Kill the Best Gentiles, which his website calls "the culmination of his life's work."
Von Brunn was identified in US media reports as the gunman who strode into the packed Holocaust Memorial shortly after noon and opened fire, killing a security guard before being wounded by return fire.
Police declined to verify the shooter's identity, saying only that the suspect is in critical condition.
But the shooting incident was eerily reminiscent of another incident involving von Brunn, who walked into the Federal Reserve building in Washington in 1981 with a handgun and a sawed-off shotgun. He was captured by a guard and arrested.
On his website, von Brunn says he served in prison for six and a half years for the Fed "caper," which he described as an "attempt to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest."
Mark Potok, whose Southern Poverty Law Center tracks extremist groups, said "the piece that was missing in the description was, of course, he thinks the Federal Reserve was created by the Rothschild family to serve the interests of, quote, unquote, international Jewish bankers."
Von Brunn has been involved with the white supremacist movement for decades, Potok said, but since his release from prison in 1989 "he's been relatively quiescent."
|"He would talk about what the world would become in 20 or 30 years, that most of the country would be governed by black governors and that the Jewish people owned the media."
James von Brunn's ex-wife to the New York Daily News
He's been appearing on his website, commenting on various white supremacist websites like Storm Front. But it has been all talk, as far as I know, until this moment, no action," he said on CNN.
The New York Daily News quoted von Brunn's ex-wife, whom it did not identify, as saying his hatred against Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer."
"It's all he would talk about," the woman was quoted as saying. "When I questioned him, he would get very angry and abusive."
"He used to make the statement that he was going out with his boots on," she said. "I took it to mean that he wasn't just about to lay down and die of old age. That he was going to go out and try to take some people with him."
Trained as a journalist, von Brunn describes himself as a professional writer and painter and gives his current residence as the town of Easton on Maryland's eastern shore.
Another Internet site selling artwork credited to von Brunn in its biographical details described him as the son of a steel mill worker, who was born in the city of Saint Louis, Missouri. His family immigrated to the United States from Germany and Austria around 1845.
The blogosphere lit up after the shooting, with some decrying the violence. Right-wing and neo-Nazi websites were full of praise and adoration for von Brunn.
"This is a great story," read one post.