The Unite the Right rally in Virginia turned deadly on Saturday when a 20-year old man slammed his car into pedestrians and protestors. He killed a 32 year old woman and hurt 19 others.
Samantha Bloom is the mother of the driver, James Alex Fields Jr.
Bloom was approached at her home in Toledo, Ohio by the Associated Press on Saturday. At the time the reporters arrived to her home, she had still not heard of the death her son had caused when the camera crew interviewed Bloom inside her garage.
During the interview, the clearly shaken mother admitted that she knew her son was going to a rally. However, she didn’t know what the rally was about, stating, “I thought it had something to do with President Trump.”
Bloom implied that she knew her son was going to the Unite the Right event by saying, “It’s the at right… the out group…?” She was told by the reporters the words she was searching for was “Alt Right.”
Bloom said, “I just knew he was going to a rally. I mean, I try to stay out of his political views.” She continued, “ I’m watching his cat.”
When the reporter informed her that the rally her son attended was one set up by white nationalists, she replied “Trump’s not a white supremacist. He had an African American friend so…”
In another interview with the The Toledo Blade, Bloom said, “I told him to be careful. If they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.”
The mother got very upset when she was told her son was in custody. She said nobody had contacted her.
According to The New York Times, military records show that Mr. Fields entered the Army on Aug. 18, 2015, around the time his mother wrote on Facebook that he had left for boot camp. Less than four months later, on Dec. 11, his period of active duty concluded. It was not immediately clear why he left the military.
— Oren Segal (@orensegal) August 13, 2017
Although Fields was shown holding a Vanguard America sign, the group denounced his participation. “The driver of the vehicle that hit counterprotesters today was, in no way, a member of Vanguard America,” the group said in a statement on its Twitter account. “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 shirts were freely handed out to anyone in attendance.”
Fields has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count related to leaving the scene of the wreck, according to The Associated Press. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced late Saturday that federal authorities will pursue a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.
According to a teacher who claims to have had Fields as a student in high school, “he was very infatuated with the Nazis.” The teacher says the Army would not allow Fields to enlist because of his mental health history. He claims Fields was on medications at the time for his mental health. The teacher, Derek Weimer, told WCPO news that he tried to talk Fields away from his harsh viewpoints, but obviously he was unsuccessful.
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