Police in Charlottesville, Virginia have named 20-year-old Ohio man James Alex Fields Jr as the suspect behind today’s deadly terror attack in the city, in which a car was driven into a group of counter-protesters after a white supremacist rally, killing one.
In a statement to the media, the Charlottesville Police Department said that Fields has been charged with second-degree murder, and also faces three counts of malicious wounding, in addition to one count related to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death.
The victim is a woman aged in her 30s, but police have not released any further details of her identity as they are trying to contact her family.
Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce was among the first to Tweet out a mugshot of the suspect, saying that he received it from local law enforcement:
The jail just sent me this mugshot of James A. Fields, accused of murder in today's car attack in Charlottesville. pic.twitter.com/P2Zt433JBD
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 13, 2017
Vehicle registration records indicate that a Dodge Challenger with a licence plate matching the one used in the attack is registered to Fields at his address in Maumee, Ohio.
Local newspaper The Toledo Blade spoke to Fields’ mother, who seemed distressed to hear of her son’s arrest. Per their report:
Samantha Bloom, Mr. Fields’ mother, told a Blade reporter her son texted her Friday to say he had dropped his cat off at her Monclova Township apartment so he could go to an “alt-right” rally in Virginia.
“I told him to be careful,” Ms. Bloom said. “[And] if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.”
It didn’t appear that happened, she said tearfully.
It is unclear whether Fields has hired a lawyer, but he remains in custody as of Saturday evening, local time, and a hearing is scheduled for Monday.
President Donald Trump has been furiously condemned by both opponents and members of his own Republican party for failing to condemn the white supremacist movement and label the Virginia attack as an act of domestic terrorism.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz has issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, saying: “The Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred they propagate.”
He unequivocally called the incident an act of domestic terrorism and urged an investigation from the Department of Justice.
I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism. pic.twitter.com/AwJLsfUEHl
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 13, 2017
A recent update from America’s ABC News indicates that the Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office For The Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into today’s “deadly vehicular incident.”
— ABC News (@ABC) August 13, 2017
Source: The Guardian
Image: Getty Images / Washington Post