The mother of the man who allegedly plowed into a group of people protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in Virginia said she knew her son was attending a rally – but she thought it was a rally for President Donald Trump, not for white nationalists.
James Alex Fields Jr, 20, was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder after he allegedly killed a 32-year-old woman, who was crossing the street, when he rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-fascists at a white nationalist rally.
His mother, Samantha Bloom, said in an interview Saturday night: ‘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, I don’t really get too involved, I moved him out to his own apartment, so I’m watching his cat.’
Bloom was informed during the interview by an AP reporter that the rally was indeed organized by white nationalists. ‘I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,’ she said.
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Samantha Bloom (right), the mother of James Fields (left), 20, who is accused of killing a woman and injuring 19 others after plowing into a crowd of people in Virginia, said she told her son to rally ‘peacefully’
Bloom (pictured), said in an interview Friday night: ‘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, I don’t really get too involved, I moved him out to his own apartment, so I’m watching his cat’
Horrifying video from the scene of the attack showed the silver muscle car speeding towards a group of fleeing anti-fascist protesters
In an interview with The Toledo Blade, Bloom said that her son texted her Friday to say he had dropped his cat off at her apartment so he could go to an ‘alt-right’ rally in Virginia.
‘I told him to be careful,’ Bloom said. ‘[And] if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.’
She had returned from dinner Saturday evening unaware that her son was involved and had not yet been contacted by police.
He told her about the rally last week, but didn’t offer details about it. ‘I thought it had something to do with Trump,’ she said.
Fields is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bail
Bloom said she was surprised with the deadly outcome. ‘Yeah, that he would run his car into a group of people for… I’m really not clear on…’
When pressed by the reporter about what Bloom was told by her son, it does appear that he had indicated it was an alt-right gathering.
‘Like I said, I don’t really talk to him about his political views,’ she said. ‘He just — so I don’t really understand what the rally was about or anything, so… I just know there was — he did mention it was ‘albright’?’
The reporter then interrupts her, asking, ‘Alt-right?’
Bloom responds: ‘Albright’
The reporter then corrects her, saying: ‘No, alt-right. It’s like alternative right.’
Bloom said she and her son had just moved to the Toledo area from the northern Kentucky city of Florence. She said that’s where Fields grew up. She relocated to Ohio for work.
Fields is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Photos that recently emerged showed Fields marching with a racist, right-wing group known as Vanguard America.
The white supremacist group opposes multiculturalism and believes America is an exclusively white nation.
Vanguard America has released a statement claiming that Fields was not an official member.
It said: ‘The driver of the vehicle that hit counter protesters today was, in no way, a member of Vanguard America. All our members had been safely evacuated by the time of the incident. The shields seen do not denote membership, nor does the white shirt. The shields were freely handed out to anyone in attendance, All our members are safe and accounted for, with no arrests or charges.’
Photos of Fields (far left with glasses) at the march showed him marching with racist right-wing group Vanguard America
Shortly after Fields was charged, the FBI and federal prosecutors announced a civil rights investigation, following Texas Sen Ted Cruz’s call for the Justice Department to launch a ‘domestic terrorism’ probe into the deadly crash.
The FBI’s Richmond field office, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia said they have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
Video of the Dodge Challenger, which is registered to Fields, showed the driver accelerating into the crowd throwing bodies into the air as people scream before reversing at high speed.
The incident killed a 32-year-old woman, whose identity has not been released by authorities pending her family’s notification.
Witnesses his car (pictured) was traveling up to 40mph when it hit and reversed before ramming into the crowd again and speeding off with someone’s shoe attached to its bumper
Fields was apprehended and arrested a few blocks away from the bloody scene.
According to the jail’s superintendent, Martin Kumer, Fields was also booked on suspicion of malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit and run.
Kumer said Fields is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
The deadly crash came after violent clashes erupted as hundreds of white supremacists including armed militias marched into Charlottesville sparking violent confrontations with counter-protesters.
Police cleared the scene with tear gas but the violence continued. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said a total of 35 people had been treated for injuries, 14 of those were from individual engagements on the streets.
Horrifying video from the scene of the attack showed the silver muscle car speeding towards a group of fleeing anti-fascist protesters.
Several residents gathered on Saturday night to hold a candlelight vigil for the woman who was tragically killed and the 19 others who were injured
Photos showed candles spread out near the scene where the woman was killed as the mourners joined hands in a circle
Another clip showed the vehicle ramming into the crowd at high speed and victims crying out in pain as they desperately sought medical help.
Witnesses said the car was traveling up to 40mph when it hit and reversed before ramming into the crowd again and speeding off with someone’s shoe attached to its bumper.
Virginia Gov Terry McAuliffe strongly condemned all of the so-called ‘patriotic’ white nationalists during a press conference Saturday evening.
‘Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth,’ McAuliffe proclaimed. ‘You are not patriots. You came here today to hurt people and that is not patriotic,’ McAuliffe added.
President Donald Trump admonished the day’s tragic events, saying in a press conference: ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence, on many sides… The hate and division must stop, and must stop right now.’
Several residents gathered on Saturday night to hold a candlelight vigil for the woman who was tragically killed and the 19 others who were injured.
Photos showed candles spread out near the scene where the woman was killed as the mourners joined hands in a circle.