Authorities arrested an Ohio man in connection with the death of a counter-protester who got ran over by a car during the University of Virginia (UVA) protest on Saturday.
NBC News reports that James Alex Fields Jr., 20, allegedly plowed his silver 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people who were protesting an assembly of white nationalists who shouted and marched in Charlottesville, reportedly in protest of the planned removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E Lee from the UVA campus.
Heather Heyer, 32, was among the counter-protesters in the crowed. Fields allegedly hit her directly, ran over her, and sped away.
— JP (@JP54045566) August 13, 2017
Brennan Gilmore, 37, shot the footage of the incident and said he saw the Challenger build up speed after its tires squealed, followed by it speeding through a group of people, hitting them, before smashing into the back bumper of another car.
VIDEO: Car slams into group of people during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia; reports of serious injuries (Vid: Rebelutionary_Z) pic.twitter.com/Gf5qMf64u9
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 12, 2017
“It was very clearly intentional,” Gilmore said to NBC News. “From the far end of the street it accelerated, slowed down right before the crowd and then slammed on the gas through the crowd sending bodies flying. And then it reversed back into the street dragging bodies and clothes.”
Fields was booked into the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, one count of failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and one count of hit and run.
AP reports that Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, said that her son told her he was going to an alt-right rally in Virginia, but that he never mentioned a white nationalist rally.
“Running his car into a crowd of people? Did it hurt anybody?” asked Bloom, who had apparently hadn’t been notified of her son’s charges.
“I just knew he was going to a rally. I mean, I try to stay out of his political views. You know, we don’t, you know, I don’t really get too involved, I moved him out to his own apartment, so we — I’m watching his cat.”
At least 34 people have been injured during the incident. In addition to Heyer’s death, two Virginia State Police officials were killed in helicopter while investigating the ongoing tensions.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Handout]