Slain Holocaust Museum guard remembered

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WASHINGTON – In an emotionally charged eulogy that took place on a radiant afternoon, Stephen Tyrone Johns, the special police officer who was slain at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, was remembered as a gentle giant with a big heart and warm smile.

WASHINGTON – In an emotionally charged eulogy that took place on a radiant afternoon, Stephen Tyrone Johns, the special police officer who was slain at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, was remembered as a gentle giant with a big heart and warm smile.

Hundreds of mourners, including local and national dignitaries, museum staff, law enforcement officers and a host of holocaust survivors, poured into the massive Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington, Md., to pay their final respect to a man also described as having uncommon valor and compassion.

In the hour-long eulogy, delivered by the Rev. Dr. John L. McCoy, senior pastor at The Word of God Baptist Church in Washington, mourners were encouraged to live in racial harmony and to not tolerate blatant acts of racism such as that which claimed Johns’ life.

“Tolerance isn’t a valid or godly response to racism, polite silence is no longer a viable action,” said McCoy, who reminded the congregation that Johns’ last act was one of kindness.

“He fell victim to a senseless and barbaric act as he extended an act of kindness,” said McCoy. “(But) don’t retaliate against racist acts with racism (as) we must not stoop to hating the racist.”

Referring to the holocaust, McCoy added that the hope of the museum is that the world never again experiences such crimes as those of World War II.

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In photo: Stephen Johns Jr., son of slain guard Stephen Johns Sr., holds the American flag presented to him at his father’s funeral at Ebenezer AME Church on June 19. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah, MHS

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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