Woman Killed at Charlottesville Rally Identified as 32-Year-Old Paralegal: 'She Died Doing What Was Right'
A suspect has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
The woman killed at a white nationalist rally in Virginia when a car plowed into more than a dozen people has been identified by family members.
Heather Heyer, 32, was attending the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally as a counter-protester on Saturday when James Alex Fields Jr., of Ohio, allegedly drove a vehicle into a crowd, killing Heyer as she crossed the street, and injuring 19 others.
“Heather Heyer was murdered while protesting against hate,” her family wrote on a GoFundMe page. "She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her."
Heyer, a paralegal, was a native of Greene County.
Multiple videos of the crash surfaced after the incident, showing a gray Dodge Challenger driving straight into a crowd. Bystanders could be seen running and screaming.
Fields, who is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, is now charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of failing to stop,
Field's mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Associated Press on Saturday night that she knew her son was attending a rally in Virginia but didn't know it was a white supremacist rally.
”I thought it had something to do with Trump," Bloom said. "Trump's not a white supremacist."
The federal government has opened a civil rights investigation into the horrific crash.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement Saturday night.
“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning,” Sessions said. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”
White nationalists, including the Ku Klux Klan and leaders of the neo-Nazi movement, were clashing with counter-protesters at the rally hours before the collision in downtown Charlottesville.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency early Saturday as violence escalated.
White supremacists and alt-right activists were reportedly protesting against the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, reports said.
President Trump spoke out about the violence in Charlottesville in a press conference Saturday afternoon.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
Many condemned Trump after the speech for not speaking specifically against white supremacists.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring tweeted that the "violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists."
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