James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was arrested on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia for allegedly ramming his car into a crowd of people who were protesting a white nationalist rally – killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
Fields has been booked and charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit-and-run. He has also been denied bail.
The Associated Press spoke to Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, and were the first to tell her of the events involving her son. Visibly shocked with the news, Bloom told the reporters she only “knew he was going to a rally” and “didn’t understand what the rally was about.” She also said, “I try to stay out of his political views.”
Now, evidence via social profiles and insight from those who knew him seems to paint a disquieting picture of Fields.
James Alex Fields: Key Background Data
1. His former high school history teacher, Derek Weimer told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “A lot of boys get interested in the Germans and Nazis because they’re interested in World War II. But James took it to another level.” Adding that a teacher filed a report during Fields’ freshman year after he turned in a writing assignment that “was very much along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement.”
2. A photo of Fields that was taken earlier in the day of the protests emerged on social media in which he appears to be standing with white supremacist group Vanguard America. He is seen wearing the group’s uniform and carrying a shield bearing the group’s insignia. The organization denied having ties to Fields.
3. A now-deactivated Facebook page that appears to have belonged to Fields contained Nazi imagery, including a picture of Hitler as a baby and memes embraced by the alt-right.
4. Military records show that Fields entered the Army on August 18, 2015, but was released from active duty due only four months after due to a “failure to meet training standards.”
5. In June, Fields was found guilty of “having expired or unlawful license plates” on his Dodge Challenger.
6. Fields’ father was killed by a drunk driver before he was born and left his son money which was kept in a trust. Field’s uncle reportedly said, “When he turned 18, he demanded his money and that was the last I had any contact with him.”
The FBI has opened an investigation into the incident to determine if any civil rights violations took place, and if so, that could mean Fields would be eligible for federal hate crimes charges.
Fields is due in court on August 25.