James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of plowing through a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and now a picture is emerging of the 20-year-old who was a registered Republican and at one point a member of the military.
Police identified Fields as the suspected driver of a car that rammed through the crowd of people protesting the white supremacist rally, killing three people and injuring dozens of others. As The Daily Beast reported, police arrested Fields on suspicion of second-degree murder. Fields is from the town of Maumee, Ohio, though it was not clear if he traveled to Virginia specifically for the rally.
White supremacists had targeted Charlottesville because the town had taken down a statue of Robert E. Lee, the New York Times reported. There were several skirmishes between white nationalists and counter-protesters, the report added, including close to two dozen injured in the car attack. Witnesses said the driver intentionally plowed through the crowd at a speed of close to 40 miles per hour.
The killings came amid a day of heightened tensions in Charlottesville, with white supremacists and Nazis gathered amid what was billed as “Unite the Right” rally. There were tensions between both sides even before the rally began, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
Videos of the car attack spread quickly on Saturday, showing the car plowing through a panicked crowd. Pictures of James Alex Fields Jr. started to hit the internet within hours of his arrest being announced, including a mugshot of the 20-year-old.
— Henry Graff (@HenryGraff) August 13, 2017
While there are still many unanswered questions about James Alex Fields Jr., including whether he had an active presence on Facebook or other social media, there have been some clues from the social media accounts of family members. Some news outlets cited his mother’s Facebook page, claiming in 2015 that James was departing for boot camp.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 13, 2017
Military records show that he had a very brief stint in the U.S. Army, joining in August 2015 and leaving the Army by December of that year, just weeks after basic training would have ended. There was no record as to why Fields left the Army.
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) August 13, 2017
Other pictures emerged of James Alex Fields Jr. from social media, including a shot from Facebook of a brooding James with a woman identified as his mother.
Police have not yet said if James Alex Fields Jr. is facing formal charges, or if they could potentially be upgraded if more victims die from the attack.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]