June 10th, 2009
05:55 PM ET
9 years ago

Justice officials weighing potential charges in museum shooting

Stephen Tyrone Johns was shot and killed while working at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday.

Stephen Tyrone Johns was shot and killed while working at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Justice Department sources say no preliminary decisions have been made on what charges may be brought against the gunman in the Holocaust Memorial shootings, if the shooter survives his gunshot wounds.

Officials said it was likely that the Metropolitan Police Department may lead the investigation if a decision is made to proceed with firearms or shooting charges, while the FBI will likely be the lead if evidence leads them to file federal civil rights-related charges.

An official says if the shooter survives, charges can be brought against him whether or not he is physically able to appear in court, and if and when he becomes physically able to do so the prosecution would then commence. But it will likely be hours - maybe days - before a decision is made.

Prosecutors had no information on the suspect's medical condition.

UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Now that security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns has died, the rifle used by the suspect has potentially become a murder weapon. It is currently in the hands of the U.S. Park Police, which has asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to urgently trace the weapon.

The ATF has asked its weapons tracing center in West Virginia to expedite a trace on the rifle, which could be completed by tomorrow. The trace should at a minimum provide the original sale and ownership of the weapon. The ATF is also trying to determine where the weapon has been, and how it came to be used in the deadly shooting at the Holocaust Museum.

One of many questions is whether the suspect was a convicted felon who should either have turned in his weapons or been barred from owning them.

Related: Guard killed during museum shooting

Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    Fear mongers stir up the pot spreading fear and hate and when those that are so easily pointed in the direction they want them to go and take the actions they struck fear in them about, the first thing they do is condemn the act as if to say they didn't want the action. Well people you have stirred the haters into taking the actions you wanted. Now it's time to stop the hating. It is pulling our nation apart. Accept that we are a multi cultural nation and no one race is better than another. Stop spreading the hate and work together as one nation. If we do not start working together as one nation we will slip quickly into the status of a savage third world country where we find ourselves fighting each other. That is not the America our country is supposed to be.

    June 10, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. LettuceB1

    They should start locking up these domestic terrorist nuts in GITMO.

    Terrorist is a terrorist no mater were they come from, their religion or age.

    My prayers go out to the police officer's family and friends. Hero till the end!

    June 10, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    The shooter was a regular poster on the Free Republic, a republican internet site filled with haters and nut cases.

    June 10, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. John M in NoHo CA

    I say let him go free in South Central L.A. after announcing it on the 5 o'clock news.

    June 10, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    @ FactCheck June 10th, 2009 5:47 pm ET

    Since Fox News is instigating these acts of terrorism, how are they any different from Al Queda?

    They are no different than Al Queda. They just call themselves something different and they say they did not order these actions but the hate they spew is just as if they ordered the action.

    June 10, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. All murder is horrible unless it is a miltary HERO?

    So can I blame Keith Olberbum for Private Long's death or Chrissy Matthews?

    Who is PVT Long?

    He was the American hero who unlike you Progressives, volunteered and wore the uniform but was recently killed by shhhhh, a Muslim convert, still waiting for Barry H to "speak out" on that horrible act.

    He SHOULD speak out on this and the museum as he did with Tiller, all horrible despicable acts by cowards, but why the silence when a REAL hero is killed by a REAL Muslim?

    It speaks volumes to what this empty suit thinks is important.

    June 10, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Moderate Conservative

    Check out the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of extremist organizations in the United States ...


    There is also extraordinary coverage about these problems across the country at (www.colorlines.com).

    June 10, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Mike

    Another loose right wing nut job.

    June 10, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. Pamela, NJ

    It must have been a banner day for the shooter to kill a black guard in the Holocaust Museum. Such hateful people have no place in our society. When will people learn that we are on this planet to make the world a better place, not kill each other.

    My heart goes out to Mr. John's family. It really saddens me that such a young man had to die by such a senseless act.

    I hope the museum will have a memorial for him and I hope the president attends. The museum is a wonderful place that gives people hope for a greater society.

    June 10, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Barbara - Atlanta

    May God bless Mr. Stephen Tyrone Johns' family. I hope that everyone will keep his family in their prayer.

    June 10, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. Denise

    This is so tragic. Award Stephen Tyrone Johns!!! Invite his family to the WH and have the Mayor of DC honor him also. he died a hero. God bless 'em!

    June 10, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. David

    Why does the Media and the education system of America keep insisting that there were Six Million jews killed in the Holocaust…when there were not even that many jews living in that geographical area that could have been killed, even if they ALL had been killed? Which they were not. They were not ALL killed. Which makes the official story all the more implausible. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

    Could it be, that the whole business of grossly exagerating the holocaust has been used to justify the creation of the jewish state. Wow, people will believe absolutely anything they are spoon-fed by the media, with no questions asked. It's amazing, simply amazing. The holocaust simply could not have killed as many jews as being told, under any circumstances or theory of the imagination. It is just not possible, it is not physically possible. Why are people like sheep, they just go with the herd, and believe what the herd is told they are supposed to believe.

    June 10, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. follow the lead to the associates

    and prosecute the associates for assisting terrorism!

    June 10, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. usualone

    Hating is such an easy reaction. Those who "hate" don't have it rougher than others. They just don't want to think. We all have people who treat us unfairly and thankfully most of us do not act like these misery seeking people. Yeah, I know guns don't kill people, people kill people. But look what these few obssessed people have done throughout our lives and those who lived before us, just thinking about America, not the genocides and holocausts around the world.

    June 10, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. German,Irish American

    How about the murder of Private Long by the black Muslim who admitted he disagreed with Mid East policy thanks to the rantings by Obama and the left-wingnuts. The hatred spewed by liberals in this country is now causing domestic terrorism against servicemen. Must make the left-wing hatefilled bloggers on this site proud.

    June 10, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. DC Law and Order

    Give him a positionin the Obama Administration – that would be punishiment enough

    June 10, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. This is So Sad!!!!

    This is sad day in America!!! Maybe Sean,Rush,Cheney and Newt will stop spreading Hate, Racism and bashing President Obama .....It is a lot of sick people in America

    ***May God Bless the family of Stephen Tyrone Johns

    June 10, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. Louise in CA

    Whether or not this sick man has any current ties with hate groups, his long association with hate-fringe-groups, in this case white racists, paints a terrifying picture of what can happen when ANY mentally disturbed citizen has access to a gun.

    June 10, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. Mike

    Following the logic of liberals, since a lot of libs hate the military and the president is Black, then it must be your fault that a black man shot a soldier in Little Rock. See how stupid that sounds!

    Name one hate thing any of those talk show hosts have said that would incite someone and give them a reason to kill. Just because people don't agree with Obama's policies does not make them racist and full of hate. You and your liberal friends are the ones that get on these boards and spew hate and call names.

    There is no excuse for what this man did, and there is nothing that a conservative has said that made him do what he did.

    June 10, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. Laurie

    This is the Republican way! Thank God we have Obama as president!

    June 10, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. United We Stand

    May God Bless Officer Johns and his family!

    We are better than the hate that brews and for those that want our country to fail. Why don't they just go to an island and be happy!

    My prayer to all tonight will be please stop the hate and the killings!

    Please stop the HATE AMEN!

    June 10, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Robin in NC

    This is nauseating. We have all got to stand against this kind of ignorant hatred. My heart is broken for the security guard and the family and friends he leaves behind. The shooter is a coward, a terrorist and an idiot.

    June 10, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. wishing

    Often, these events do not happen in a vacuum. We need to investigate all of his contacts, associates, mentors, affiliations and make them public

    I am just finishing a book about the Temple bombing in Atlanta. Well written. It goes into some detail about the connections among the right-wing extremists involved. Someone needs to do the same thing with this right-wing extremist.

    Right wing talk radio contributes an atmosphere of hate and fear which inflames their fringe.

    June 10, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. fishy fish

    Another fox news viewer.

    June 10, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. JDB

    I'm all for free speech, but there are lines of common decency and good sense that must be adhered to.

    I agree with Dan – right wing blowhards bear some responsibility. Their daily servings of hate and lies fuel the bitter and weak minded. I also hold the rnc responsible for not calling folks out with pleas to turn it down a notch – they aren't blind deaf or dumb – they see what's going on and stand on the sidelines and let this go on.

    I've watched videos from the palin rallies during the elections where racist rants and disgusting signage was commonplace. The "tea bagging" by the right and the bigotry and hatred on full display again.

    I – and unfortunately the whole world – is seeing the absolute worst of this country. I'm ashamed for the hatemongers because they obviously have neither the intelligence or common decency to be ashamed of themselves.

    June 10, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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