James A. Fields Jr., 21, the man suspected of killing a woman protesting a white supremacist rally in August of 2017 has been formally charged with a federal hate crime. The Western District of Virginia ruled that Fields deliberately drove his car into a sea of people, injuring 19 and killing one Heather Heyer, 32. Fields will also face first-degree murder charges.
The counterprotests which Heyer was supporting were organized to disavow the rally of white supremacists defending the removal of a statue of Confederate war general Robert E. Lee.
The New York Times reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions showed sympathy for the victim, “Last summer’s violence in Charlottesville cut short a promising young life and shocked the nation…Today’s indictment should send a clear message to every would-be criminal in America that we aggressively prosecute violent crimes of hate that threaten the core principles of our nation.”
According to sources, Fields was an introverted man who was living with his mother up until several months ago and struggled to make friends in school. His mother, Samantha Bloom, told the Associated Press that she was aware that her son was attending a rally that, “had something to do with Trump…Trump’s not a supremacist”
Derek Weimer, 45, one of Fields’ teachers at Randall K Cooper High School, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Fields was “a very bright kid but very misguided and disillusioned.” Weimer continued to say that he had written a paper for a different class that was “very much along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement.”
Footage of the incident can be seen below. Documentary filmmakers Deia Schlosberg and Conrad Shaw who were near the scene of the crime said the car hit several people before it crashed into another car, causing the chain reaction that killed Ms. Heyer.