The Secure Community Network, set up by UJC and the Conference of Presidents to coordinate security for Jewish organizations, has sent out an alert to its member institutions with information about today’s shooter at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. James Wenneker von Brunn has a history of harboring anti-Semitic and anti-government views and alleged ties to white supremacist groups.The alert points out that "law enforcement officials have indicated this appears to be an isolated incident at this time. However, SCN reminds our member organizations this is the fourth incident involving an attack or planned attack against a Jewish institution and/or member of the Jewish community in the last two months by individuals subscribing to extremist ideology."
Here’s the SCN update:
IMPORTANT UPDATE: SUSPECT IDENTIFIED IN SHOOTING AT HOLOCAUST MUSEUM IN WASHINGTON, DC
The following is an update concerning the shooting incident that occurred at the U.S. Holocaust Museum earlier this afternoon:
Law enforcement officials have identified the shooting suspect as James Wenneker von Brunn. The suspect is reportedly a military veteran and Holocaust denier that harbors anti-Semitic and anti-government views and has alleged ties to white Supremacist groups.
The Anti Defamation League (ADL) has provided the following additional information about the suspect, “the suspect, identified as James Wennecke von Brunn, is a long time white supremacist and anti-Semite who often uses the name James von Brunn. Born in 1920, Brunn is a veteran of World War II and retired Naval Reserve officer. Brunn worked in advertising and other professions until he retired. He now lives in Maryland and describes himself as an “artist” and “writer;” however, his magnum opus is a self-published anti-Semitic book, Tob Shebbe Goyim Harog (“Kill the Best Gentiles”). He has written many anti-Semitic essays as well. In recent years, he also created an anti-Semitic Web site, which he called “The Holy Western Empire.”
The museum shooting is not the first time Brunn has exhibited a willingness to use violence with regard to targets he considered connected to Jews. In 1981, Brunn, then living in New Hampshire, was arrested at the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Board after he tried to use a sawed-off shotgun to take board members hostage. Like many anti-Semites, Brunn believed that Jews control the nation’s banking system. He was convicted of 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. He was sentenced to four to eleven years in prison in 1983 and served over six.”
The ADL has advised SCN that they will be producing a more detailed report on the suspect.
Lone Wolf Gunmen
Initial reports indicate the gunman acted alone in this incident. SCN has previously issued several communications regarding the threat and challenge posed by lone wolf gunmen. Lone wolves, individuals radicalized by virulent ideologies and drawn to sympathetic causes, operate alone with no apparent connection to and/or direction from established terror groups. Lone wolves pose a significant threat and security challenge as they are extremely difficult to identify and disrupt. The most effective defense against this type of attacker is a comprehensive security program which includes staff training in suspicious activity identification along with a surveillance detection program to identify suspicious persons and/or activity at your facility.
Active Shooter Security Resources
The Department of Homeland Security has developed an excellent resource guide that provides policies and guidelines for responding to an active shooter. Executive leadership along with facility and security personnel are encouraged to review the guidelines for implementing an active shooter response policy that is appropriate for their own facility. The DHS document may be accessed and downloaded from the following link
Analytic Comment from SCN
Law enforcement officials have indicated this appears to be an isolated incident at this time. However, SCN reminds our member organizations this is the fourth incident involving an attack or planned attack against a Jewish institution and/or member of the Jewish community in the last two months by individuals subscribing to extremist ideology. SCN encourages our members to continue to be vigilant and maintain appropriate levels of security at your institutions.