Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 18:09 UK

US museum suspect 'to be charged'


The alleged gunman is in a critical condition

An 88-year-old man suspected of killing a guard at Washington DC's Holocaust museum is to be charged with murder, Mayor Adrian Fenty has said.

The alleged gunman, James von Brunn, is in a critical condition in hospital after he was shot by police officers at the museum, which remains closed.

American media reports say the man is a white supremacist who has served time in prison for violent offences.

Mayor Fenty said the capital was still an "open and safe" place for tourists.

Speaking at a news conference outside the museum, he said the quick response by police to apprehend von Brunn "literally saved the lives of countless people," the AP news agency reported.

'Lone attack'

The dead security guard was named as Stephen Tyrone Johns, who had worked at the museum for six years.

FBI agents examine a bullet-ridden door at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC
The museum has been threatened by anti-Semitic extremists before

He was holding the door open for Mr von Brunn when he was shot, and later died of his injuries at a hospital in Washington.

Flags at the museum flew at half-staff and bouquets of flowers were left outside in honour of Mr Johns, 39.

The museum was crowded with schoolchildren and tourists at the time of the attack, but all escaped injury.

US President Barack Obama earlier said he was "shocked and saddened" by the incident.

Law enforcement officials have said the gunman appeared to have acted alone. They are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.

Correspondents say Von Brunn has long been tied to extremist groups and served a prison sentence for taking a sawn-off shotgun, revolver and knife into Washington's Federal Reserve in 1981, when the board was meeting.

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