Those who knew Ohio man accused in Charlottesville crash speak out

Posted at 6:51 PM, Aug 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 10:49:18-04

Some say there were warning signs of hate, but others who knew the man accused of crashing his car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville are shocked.

Heather Heyer was killed in the crash. Her family members say the 32-year-old paralegal was passionate about social issues and the 2016 presidential election. Nineteen others were injured.

7 Action News went to the home in Maumee, Ohio where the accused murderer 20-year-old James Fields Jr. lived with his mom Samantha Bloom until recently moving to his own apartment.

FBI agents were there speaking to his mom and looking into his background.   Lucas County Sheriff’s Deputies were outside the apartment, making sure no one approached the home.

Before they arrived, reporters from the Toledo Blade spoke to Bloom. She said she knew her son had gone to a Republican rally.  

“I didn’t know it was white supremacist. I just thought it had to do with Trump. He’s not supremacist,” said Bloom.

She had not yet heard what had happened and voiced shock.

“I feel bad for her. I know how I would feel if it was my son,” said Greg Ford, a neighbor.  "It is very unfortunate. I don’t know why we get into this kind of thing in this country anymore.”

He and another neighbor say they never saw any indication the man who lived so close may be a white supremacist.

“It was really surprising, I mean I knew him,” said his neighbor, Jacob Woessner.

“He just kind of blended in,” said Ford.

But not everyone says this is a shock.

“When we covered World War Two and the rise of Hitler, he would say Hitler’s views are right,” said Derek Weimer, a history teacher who taught Fields at Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky.

Weimer says Fields was openly a Nazi sympathizer. He spoke in class about wishing Hitler had won and created a white supremacist empire. Weimar says hearing he is accused of being driver the this horrific and deadly crash is personal.

“I would challenge him to think a different way  I always told him the U.S.  has a multi-racial society. Throughout our history we had people from all different countries forging a national identity.  I thought at times I got through to him, but obviously not,” said Weimer.