Charlottesville Suspect James Fields Held White Supremacist Group's Shield Just Hours Before Attack

Patricia Ramirez

On Saturday afternoon, a counter protest at a controversial Charlottesville, Virgina, white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally turned deadly when a car plunged into a crowd of pedestrians. According to investigators, the driver of that car was 20-year-old James Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio. Just hours before the horrific vehicle attack, suspect James Fields had been spotted engaging in some very different activity, apparently on behalf of a known white supremacist group.

As New York Daily News reports, one of their photographers snapped a picture of Charlottesville suspect James Fields on the front lines of the white nationalist rally. At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the suspect was photographed proudly brandishing a shield featuring the well-known and divisive black-and-white insignia of the Vanguard America hate group.

Alongside Fields, who appears near the center of the Daily News photo were other white men dressed in nearly identical attire: khaki slacks and polo shirts.

The Anti-Defamation League describes the Vanguard America hate organization as one that focuses on "white identity." However, the League went on to say that the divisive group's members have "increasingly demonstrated a neo-Nazi ideology." According to Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the black and white double ax emblem is widely recognized as a common version of the white supremacist group's insignia while Charolottesville suspect James Fields' attire in the Saturday morning photograph is "standard" among the group.

According to James Fields' mom, she was unaware that her son had anything to do with the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally until hours after the deadly vehicle attack. Samantha Bloom claims that she believed her son was going to a rally that "had something to do with Trump."

"I told him to be careful."

"I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump's not a white supremacist."

"The driver of the vehicle that hit counter protesters today was, in no way, a member of Vanguard America. All our members had been safely evacuated by the time of the incident."

POTUS Trump addressed the Charlottesville attack on Saturday, but his words fell short of condemning the white nationalist/white supremacist movement, a fact that outraged many in the wake of such seemingly senseless violence. Many have since called on Trump to denounce alt-right, white nationalist and, white supremacist groups and causes.

According to Signer, Trump has an obligation to say "enough is enough" now that "people are dying" due to the white nationalist movement.

"The time has come for this to stop. This should be a turning point. This movement jumped the shark and it happened yesterday. People are dying and I do think that it's now on the president and on all of us to say 'enough is enough.'"

[Featured Image by Alan Goffinski/AP Images]