In the wake of the June 10, 2009 fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the face of a hero has emerged– a man who lost his life while protecting others — 39-year-old Stephen Tyrone Johns. Johns, a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, was murdered after opening the museum door for James W. Von Brunn who immediately opened fire in the museum’s entry hall. Johns had little time to react and, by the time he drew his .38 caliber revolver, was hit by a rifle shot in the torso. In reaction, the remaining security guards immediately shot Von Brunn, who was critically wounded. Von Brunn has been charged with murder and may also face hate crime charges.
Stephen Tyrone Johns was known amongst friends as a “big guy with a big heart” and a man that “would do anything for the visitors that came to the museum.” A lifelong Washington Redskins fan, his colleagues would frequently have friendly arguments with him about the Redskins’ archrivals, the Dallas Cowboys. According to friends, Johns had recently remarried and had a young son. Stephen Tyrone Johns made the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others and his deed and memory will live on forever.