Holocaust museum shooter appears in court

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The man charged with killing a security officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum made his first appearance in court.

James von Brunn, who is charged with gunning down guard Stephen Johns on June 10, was wheeled into a hearing in a Washington federal courtroom.

Previous hearings were delayed because of the injuries von Brunn sustained from the return fire of museum security officers after the 89-year-old white supremacist started shooting at the entrance to the museum.

Prosecutor Nicole Waid said at the hearing that von Brunn wanted to "send a message to the Jewish community" that the Holocaust was a hoax. She said von Brunn had planned the shooting months in advance, and had set up funeral plans and put his finances in order because he expected to die in the attack, the Washington Post reported.

Von Brunn objected to his lawyer’s request that Judge Reggie Walton order a mental competency exam.

"Your Constitution guarantees me a speedy and fair trial," he said, according to media reports. "I’m a United States citizen, and as a U.S. Naval officer, I swore to protect my country. I take my vows seriously."

The judge ordered the exam and that von Brunn be detained pending trial. He also delayed von Brunn’s arraignment and scheduled another hearing for Oct. 14.

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