Acquaintances of James von Brunn say the 88-year-old man who witnesses saw open fire in the Holocaust Memorial Museum had grown increasingly unhappy in recent weeks, reports the Washington Post. One fellow white separatist said von Brunn "was barely making it" after his Social Security payments were cut, which he blamed on "someone in Washington" looking at his white supremacist website. Von Brunn also told readers of his periodic emails that they should expect not to hear from him again.
Von Brunn was living hand-to-mouth and was on the verge of giving up his computer—his primary connection to a network of racists and conspiracy theorists. His neighbors described him as a loner who would, unprompted, frequently express his belief that the Holocaust never took place. Hate group monitors have substantial files on him dating to 1981, when he took a gun into the Federal Reserve.