Ohio Man Charged With Driving Into Va. Protesters, Killing 1
An Ohio man was charged with driving into Virginia protesters who were demonstrating against white nationalists on Saturday, killing one and hurting more than a dozen more.
James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was charged with second-degree murder, police told The Associated Press. He also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.
According to AP, a 32-year-old woman was killed, but her name wasn’t revealed.
A court hearing is set for Monday.
Several videos captured the moment when a car plowed into a group of people.
The mother of the suspect, Samantha Bloom, said that she knew he was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know that it was a white supremacist rally.
In several photos uploaded by the Anti-Defamation League and reported on by the New York Daily News, a man who appears to be Fields is seen holding a shield that appears consistent with that of self-proclaimed fascist group Vanguard America.
On Saturday, the group released a statement, saying Fields was “in no way, a member of Vanguard America,” adding that the shields were handed out to anyone who attended.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement on Saturday night about the probe.
“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning,” Sessions said in a statement. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”
The “Unite the Right” rally that Fields had attended was organized by right-wing blogger Jason Kessler, who sought to protest against the city of Charlottesville’s move to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Sessions also condemned the violence.
“When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated,” the attorney general said, Fox News reported.
“I have talked with FBI Director Chris Wray, FBI agents on the scene, and law enforcement officials for the state of Virginia. The FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day,” Sessions said. “U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the Department of Justice. Justice will prevail.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz called on the DOJ to probe the violence.
“Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism,” Cruz said in a statement.