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Most people just want to remember James von Brunn as the crazy old Nazi supporter who was the shooter of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but how many remember this? Would the United States applaud him for his actions in 1981?

Museum Shooter: 'I Swore to Defend My Country'

Aired June 10, 2009 - 15:59   ET

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're not going away from the breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

A Museum that chronicles past violence is now the scene of violence right here in the nation's capital. Officials say a lone gunman walked into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the National Mall and opened fire with what's being described as a long gun.
A security guard, a private security guard, was shot, and we have now been told by our local affiliate WJLA that that security guard has died. Officials say other guards shot and then wounded the gunman.

All of this is unfolding dramatically here on this day.

Sources tell CNN the suspect is an 88-year-old white supremacist, a racist and anti-Semite named James von Brunn. The shooting happened only hours before the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, and many other VIPs were supposed to attend a play at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Let's go straight to CNN's senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry. He's on the scene.

Criminal Past

One of the reasons why Von Brunn was respected by white supremacists was because he was willing to "walk the walk" as well as "talk the talk."  In 1981, he decided to strike at one of his pet enemies, the Federal Reserve system, which he believed was how Jewish international bankers controlled the money system.  On December 7, 1981, he traveled from New Hampshire, where he was living at the time, to WashingtonD.C., to the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Board.  Carrying several weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun, he ran past guards up to the second floor, where the Board was meeting at the time.  However, police caught up with him outside the meeting room and arrested him.  Von Brunn was charged with attempted armed kidnapping, second-degree burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a pistol without a license and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon.  In 1983 he was convicted and sentenced to four to 11 years in prison, of which he eventually served six and a half years.  John Crommelin, the retired admiral, allegedly told Von Brunn's son that von Brunn deserved "the gratitude and assistance of every White Christian citizen of these United States."
James von Brunn's Account Of His 1981 Fed Attack

James W. von Brunn holds a B.S. Journalism degree from a mid-Western university where he was president of SAE and played varsity football. During WWII he served as PT-Boat captain, Lt. USNR, receiving a Commendation and four battle stars. For twenty years he was an advertising executive and film-producer in New York City. He is a member of Mensa, the high-IQ society. 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 and sentenced to prison for eleven years. The Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison.
"And so, on December 7, 1981, a bright, crisp morning James Wenneker von Brunn visited the Federal Reserve Building on Constitution Ave., across from the Washington Monument, Washington D.C. I had cased the building twice before, and talked at length with one of the guards, a retire U.S. Marine. I posed as a freelance newspaper reporter. I wore a trench-coat with a camera-case slung over my shoulder. . The Marine ("HARRY")) guided me through the Board Room, and Paul Volcker's office; there I met his secretary, a smartly dressed middle-aged lady with gray hair. My objective was to arrest Volcker and the FED Brd of Governors.
I intended to bind their hands, and persuade them to appear on Television. There, on camera, I intended to read to the American public my indictment of these treasonous liars. If I survived I expected to be arrested, then stand trial before a jury of my peers. Back then I had faith in our system of justice. The Federal Reserve building fronts on Constitution Avenue, however, the main entrance, the north side, is at the rear. Here broad steps lead to a bank of impressive brass-encased doors, plus one turnstile doorway. Upon entering the building one faces a wide north to south marble corridor. Since my visit they installed security devices. Three (?) elevators stand along the west wall. A uniformed Negro security-guard, to the east (my left), seated behind a desk, required visitors to log-in. Attached to the desk was a closed cabinet containing, I had been informed, riot weapons. Two hall-ways, each running east to west, traverse the length of the building; they intersect the main corridor. Two security guards patrol them. Between the halls two flights of marble stairs along the west wall rise to the second level balcony, overlooking the main corridor. Harry (the ex-Marine) is stationed there - He protects the Board Members' offices and the Board of Governors conference room. He too has a desk-cabinet with riot arms. On the first floor, opposite the balcony is a waiting room. A guard there directs visitors to their destinations, makes telephone calls to confirm appointments, etc. I waited there with a beautiful young brunette applying for her first job. She wore a luxurious sable coat, which I helped her remove when she complained it was too warm. I didn't dare unbutton my trench coat, which concealed a sawed-off shot gun, a .38- police-special, a Bowie knife and a carpenters-apron containing cord, etc. Later the visiting-room guard said he thought I looked "suspicious." The camera-case slung over my shoulder now contained a phony bomb, which, it appeared, could be activated by a phony detonator (range finder). As I didn't want to kill anyone I carried no ammunition. 
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