'Gentle Giant' Mourned After Museum Shooting

'Outstanding' guard hailed as a hero
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2009 1:44 AM CDT
In this image provided by the US Holocaust Museum, museum guard Stephen T. Johns, is seen. Johns was killed yesterday when an elderly gunman opened fire at the museum.   (AP Photo/U.S. Holocaust Museum)
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(Newser) – Colleagues at the National Holocaust Museum remember slain security guard Stephen Johns as unfailingly courteous and friendly, the Washington Post reports. The 39-year-old guard was killed in the line of duty yesterday when a gunman walked into the museum and opened fire. "There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events," said a statement from the museum.

Authorities say Johns and his fellow guards behaved courageously when white supremacist James Von Brunn began shooting. "Never take your guard force or your security people for granted," said the museum's chief of staff. "They did exactly what they were supposed to do." Flags have been lowered to half-mast at the museum, which will be closed today in Johns' honor.