Boone Co. Native Held in Deadly Car Attack on Charlottesville Protestors
The man accused of ramming a Dodge Challenger through a group of protestors - killing one and injuring nineteen - in Charlottesville, Va., has roots in Boone County.
In widely circulated photos of the attack, believed by police to be premeditated, the Challenger was seen to have Ohio plates. Reporters later traced the vehicle to Maumee, Oh., but later found that it was purchased in Florence.
James Alex Fields, the driver in the attack, moved with his mother from Northern Kentucky to Maumee, Oh., near Toledo, the Toledo Blade reported. Samantha Bloom said that her son told her that he was going to a political rally and that she told him to be careful, according to the Blade. “I thought it had something to do with [President] Trump,” she told the paper. “I try to stay out of his political views,” she said. “I don’t get too involved.”
Fields, 20, had moved out of her house five or six months ago, she said, and into his own apartment in Maumee. According to WCPO, Fields attended Cooper High School in Union where one teacher remember him as a respectful student but as one with "radical ideas on race."
"He was very infatuated with the Nazis, with Adolf Hitler. He also had a huge military history, especially with German military history and World War II. But, he was pretty infatuated with that stuff," history teacher Derek Weimer told WCPO. "In his freshman year, he had an issue with that that was raised, and from then on we knew that he had those issues. I developed a good rapport with him and used that rapport to constantly try to steer him away from those beliefs to show clear examples -- why that thinking is wrong, why their beliefs were evil, you know, things like that," Weimer said.
Fields is being held without bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.
The New York Times explains the origins of the demonstrations that led to violence over the weekend:
At the center of the chaos is a statue memorializing Robert E. Lee. It depicts the Confederacy’s top general, larger than life, astride a horse, both green with oxidation.
The white nationalists were in Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to remove that statue, and counterdemonstrators were there to oppose them. The statue — begun by Henry Merwin Shrady, a New York sculptor, and finished after his death by an Italian, Leo Lentelli — had stood in the city since 1924. But over the past couple of years some residents and city officials, along with organizations like the N.A.A.C.P., had called for it to come down.
Additionally, two Virginia State Police troopers were killed when a helicopter crashed while monitoring the situation.