National News

I-Team: Former NKY classmate said Charlottesville attack suspect 'would proclaim himself as a Nazi'

Posted August 14

— The man accused of driving a car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally Saturday in Charlottesville referred to "himself as a Nazi" in high school, one of his former classmates said.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, used to live in the Florence, Kentucky area. Marisa, 20 -- who preferred we did not use her last name -- said she and Fields graduated from Randall K. Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky.

Marisa said she took German classes with Fields, and she went to Europe with him and about two dozen other students in 2015.

"He would proclaim himself as a Nazi … it was not a secret," she said.

Derek Weimer, who taught two history courses to Fields Cooper High School, said he was a quiet, respectful student but had some "radical ideas on race."

"He was very infatuated with the Nazis, with Adolf Hitler," Weimer said. "He also had a huge military history, especially with German military history and World War II. But, he was pretty infatuated with that stuff."

He also recalled Fields wondering what society might be like if the Allies hadn't won.

"'What if Hitler had won? What if we had this large white supremacist empire going into the modern world?' -- that (Hitler's) views were right," Weimer said.

He said those views, combined with Fields' history of being prescribed antipsychotic medication, may have been a "perfect storm."

"I thought at times I got through to him," Weimer said, "but obviously not."

Fields is charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death. At his arraignment Monday morning, he was denied bail.

Charlottesville police said he rammed his Dodge sports car into a sedan, which then hit a minivan.

The collisions sent the vehicles into a crowd of counter-demonstrators.

Video caught the Dodge reversing, hitting more people, its windshield splintered from the collision and bumper dragging on the pavement. Medics carried the injured, bloodied and crying, away as a police tank rolled down the street.

Heather Heyer was killed and 19 people were hurt.

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