Accused car ramming suspect James Fields left his cat with his mother, Samantha Bloom, before heading to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that she thought was about Trump, she told The Associated Press.
Bloom’s Facebook cover photo is a picture with her son from 2015 in which she referenced him going to boot camp. According to AP, Fields was previously accused of abusing his mother.
Fields, 20, who was raised in Kentucky but living in Ohio, is accused of ramming a car into a group of people counter protesting a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19. Very disturbing videos showed the vehicle slam into people who were assembled for the counter protest.
Fields Jr., 20, is from Maumee, Ohio. He was arrested and charged with “one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run attended failure to stop with injury,” according to The Washington Post.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fields’ Mother Said She Thought Her Son Was Going to a Trump Rally & Fields Was Accused of Abusing Bloom
Bloom spoke to The Associated Press and Toledo Blame newspaper. She told AP that she knew Fields was going to a rally but “I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist.”
Bloom told AP, “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.”
She told the AP that she didn’t know about the car ramming attack until the AP reporter told her about it, according to ABC News.
The Associated Press is reporting that Fields was accused of abusing his mother. Florence, Kentucky police records show Bloom “called police in 2011. Records show Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told police he stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. Bloom is disabled and uses a wheelchair. In another incident in 2010, Bloom said that Fields smacked her in the head and locked her in the bathroom after she told him to stop playing video games. Bloom told officers Fields was on medication to control his temper.”
2. Bloom Said That Fields Had Lived With Her Until Recently & Expressed Shock but a Teacher Says Fields Long Supported Hitler
The mother expressed shock to the AP that Fields’ views were white supremacist. “He had an African-American friend so …,” she said, according to the AP.
When pressed, she indicated she knew the rally was an “alt right” rally but mistakenly called it “albright,” according to ABC, citing AP. “Like I said, I don’t really talk to him about his political views,” she said to AP. “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’? What is it? Al–?”
Bloom, of Maumee, Ohio, told The Toledo Blade her son “texted her Friday to say he had dropped his cat off at her Monclova Township apartment so he could go to an ‘alt-right’ rally in Virginia.”
“I told him to be careful,” Bloom said to the Ohio newspaper. “[And] if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.” She also told that newspaper she thought the rally “had something to do with Trump” and that she didn’t get very involved in her son’s political views.
Bloom also told The Toledo Blade that her son had moved out of her Maumee apartment a few months ago and said they moved to Ohio from Kentucky recently for a job.
Derek Weimer, his former history teacher, said that Fields was interested in Hitler and the Nazis for years.
“A lot of boys get interested in the Germans and Nazis because they’re interested in World War II,” the Kentucky teacher said. “But James took it to another level.” He wrote a report on Hitler as a high school student that was “beyond the pale,” the teacher added.
A former classmate told AP that Fields once said he went on a school trip to Germany to see the “Fatherland.”
Buzzfeed and New York Daily News reported that a now deleted Facebook page appeared to belong to Fields in the name of Conscious Ovis Aries, and had overt Nazi and white supremacy references, including a photo of baby Hitler and travel photos of the Reichstag. You can read more about that here and see screenshots:
3. Fields’ Father Was Killed By a Drunken Driver
A vehicle was also involved in a tragedy that punctuated Fields’ childhood.
According to The Washington Post, Fields’ father was killed by a drunk driver. Fields’ uncle, who did not want his name used, told the newspaper that “Fields’s father was killed by a drunk driver a few months before the boy’s birth…His father left him money that the uncle kept in a trust until Fields reached adulthood.”
“When he turned 18, he demanded his money, and that was the last I had any contact with him,” the uncle told The Washington Post. The uncle told the newspaper that Fields grew up in Kentucky “where he’d been raised by a single mother who was a paraplegic” and described Fields as “not really friendly, more subdued.”
4. Fields’ Mother Wrote Lovingly About Him on Facebook
On Facebook, just about the only thing visible on Fields’ mother page is the photo of her with her son and a 2015 thread in which she speaks lovingly of him.
“James just left for boot camp. He’s all grown up,” she wrote, earning well wishes from other comment writers (the military has not confirmed whether Fields was in the military).
She responded to one of the 2015 well-wishers, “Thanks! I’m excited for him … change is great as long as its growth. Im sure I’ll need them hugs when its time for deployment.”
5. The Victim, Heather Heyer, Was a Paralegal
Heyer, identified as the 32-year-old woman killed in the car attack, was just crossing the street along with a group of counter protesters, who were carrying LGBTQ flags and Black Lives Matter signs. They were demonstrating against the group of alt-right white nationalists who had rallied together to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in the Virginia city. The night before, the alt-right group had carried torches in protest, ramping up the tensions in the area. Clashes erupted in the city, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency.
Prominent officials, such as Ted Cruz, are calling for the attack to be treated as domestic terrorism. President Trump condemned the violence on “many sides,” sparking criticism, including from some Republicans, for not calling out white nationalists and for not labeling the attack domestic terror. The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation.
Heyer was a paralegal and a Bernie Sanders supporter. You can read more about her life here: