COPY-Holocaust museum closed for day to mark shooting

Associated Press - June 11, 2009 10:23 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - A museum in the nation's capital that was born out of tragedy is marking another one this morning.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum is closed today. Its flags are at half-staff as it mourns the death of security guard Stephen T. Johns. He was killed yesterday while stopping a rifle attack by a gunman authorities identified as an 88-year-old white supremacist.

James von Brunn, a Holocaust denier who once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve Board, is the suspect in the assault at the museum. Authorities say security officers engaged the gunman as soon as he stepped inside the crowded museum and began shooting. Museum director Sara Bloomfield tells NBC's "Today" show the 39-year-old officer "died heroically in the line of duty."

Bouquets of roses, lillies and other flowers are lined up outside the museum walls today. The entrance where the shooting occurred is still cordoned off by police tape.

The suspect remains hospitalized after being shot by another security guard.

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