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UPDATE: More tragic news. The museum has released a statement saying that the security offier, Stephen Tyrone Johns, has died after being shot today. The museum will be closed tomorrow in his honor.
Despite heavy security and metal detectors present at The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, an 89-year-old man walked into the museum this afternoon and fired off shots, wounding at least one security guard before he was shot down by a second security officer. According to the NY Times:
Preliminary reports indicated that the gunman was carrying either a rifle or shotgun and possibly a pistol, and that he fired five or six shots before being wounded.
The man has tentatively been identified as James W. von Brunn, who has been known to have conspiracy theories (and a website detailing them) about minority groups. However, the Washington police chief has not confirmed his identity. He's since been taken to the hospital. The shooting victim is a security guard, who's identity was also not released and who reportedly in grave condition.
The Holocaust museum sees an annual amount of 1.7 million visitors a year. At the time of the shooting, "a couple of thousand" visitors were inside, according to museum's chief of staff. The museum and roads surrounding it remain closed during the investigation.
[Photo: NY Times]
"Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", the follow up to Ben Stiller's 2006 hit "Night at the Museum", opens across the country today. The movie, set in Washington D.C., was mostly filmed on a Vancouver sound stage. That isn't stopping D.C. from doing its best to capitalize on the potential family tourism dollars the movie can bring in though. Here's a look at the best "Night at the Museum" promotions in D.C. this weekend.
Where to Stay:
The Liaison Capitol Hill is offering a “Day at The Museum in D.C.” package that includes accommodations for one night, a map of Smithsonian museum locations (the museums are free), two all day metro rail passes and two movie theater tickets to see "A Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (or any other movie of your choice). The package starts at $169 a night and can be purchased by calling the hotel at 1-866-246-2203 and mentioning the promo code, MUSEUM.
Why shouldn't a trip to the nation's best known address be a mouse click away? For the first time ever the White House announced tickets to its annual Easter Egg Roll would be available online, and harried parents with Blackberrys everywhere rejoiced.
The annual and largely secular event attracts thousands of kids to push hard-boiled eggs through the normally sedate White House lawn in a tradition originally begun by First Lady Dolley Madison. This year's Roll, held on April 13, has been given the tech treatment with tickets available here right now through Front Gate, as well as a fitness gloss emphasizing healthy living.
Whether that includes a balanced diet involving eggs is hard to say, but families who are already headed to Washington D.C. for spring break should snatch up a spot and the chance to meet the President and First Lady, who normally preside over the event. But luck has to be on your side: Unfortunately, when we were finally able to load Front Gate's dedicated page, it told us tickets would be available "at various times" and to keep checking back.
· White House Easter Egg Roll Moves Tickets Online [CBS News]
· Time for Change: Redesigning the White House [Jaunted]
· Berlin Hotels Not Great At Celebrating Easter Properly [HC]
[Photo of the 2006 Easter Egg Roll hunt: teejayhanson]
There were a lot of questions about whether DC could handle yesterday's oversized Presidential Inauguration, and the general consensus on the ground is twofold: The event itself went off with few hitches, but getting out of there was an effing warzone.
Those on the edges of the National Mall escaped quickly after Obama's speech, but revelers in the central section were surprised to find that virtually all routes to exit had already been sealed off.
Yours truly tried to jump from the swearing-in over to the parade and found there was no way anyone was allowed to exit north of the Mall, tickets or not. Then everyone wandered South of the Mall in the most haphazard, frustrating exit we've seen from any event ever.
No Metros were running, police officers had no idea where people were expected to exit, and everyone basically wandered back and forth block-to-block aimlessly looking for some way to get the heck out of there.
We've talked to several different folks who spent as long as three hours figuring out how to get off the Mall, and we ended up having to walk all the way around the Capitol to Northeast DC to find any form of transportation (and that was a very lucky cab get).
How were your escapes from Inauguration? Other hellish tales? Did anyone figure out how to do it quickly? Sound off in comments below.
If all the inauguration rental rip offs have you second-guessing your plans to attend Obama's big day, you may want to check out Inauguration Homes, a new website peddling, yep, rentals during inaugural week.
The site allows you to list rentals or browse listings for free, and the proprietors claim to independently verify the legitimacy of each listing, which are limited to houses within DC proper. The site mostly avoids the over-the-top listings found on Craigslist, but that's not to say you'll find the steal of the century here. Let's call the finds "reasonably overpriced."
At $500 a night, this Cleveland Park studio beats most of the deals on CL, and there are a bunch of similarly priced places in decent nabes, while the crazy-expensive listings at least look like pretty outrageous places, such as this five-bedroom Kalorama townhouse, asking $8,750 a night.
· Inauguration Homes [Official Site]
· Best Of The Craigslist Inauguration Rip Offs (So Far) [Jaunted]
· The Six Best Craigslist Deals. (So Far.) [Jaunted]
· Inauguration Travel coverage [Jaunted]