The mother of the Ohio man accused of driving a car into a crowd counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., said she wasn’t aware of her son’s political views or his reasons for heading to Virginia. “I just knew he was going to a rally,” Samantha Bloom told three reporters Saturday (Aug. 12) from the driveway of her suburban Toledo home.
Bloom said she hadn’t spoken to law enforcement about her son, James Alex Fields Jr., and seemed to learn of the accusations against him from the reporters in her driveway. “Running his car into a crowd of people?” she repeated to one of the reporters. “Did it hurt anybody?”
Charlottesville authorities say Fields, 20, drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of protesters opposing a rally of white nationalists in town to object to the planned removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One person died, and at least 26 other people were hurt, authorities have said. Fields was booked with second-degree murder and malicious wounding.
In a roughly four-minute conversation with reporters, Bloom said her son grew up in the Florence, Ky., area. He lived with her in Maumee, Ohio, before moving to an apartment “across the way.”
She said her son told her about going to a rally in Virginia, but she didn’t know any details. She last spoke to her son Friday, via text message, about watching his cat, she said.
“I try to stay out of his political views,” she said. “I don’t really get too involved.”
The weight of the allegations against her son appeared to fall on Bloom as she started crying toward the end of the video. “I guess I need to go in and confirm what’s going on,” she told reporters as she went inside her house.
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Sean McKeown-Young of Advance Digital, Inc. and the Associated Press contributed to this report.