Fields also injured 19 other people when he smashed his vehicle into a line of cars. A friend and former neighbor of his mother, Samantha Bloom, remembered Fields as a quiet teenager who “kept to himself a lot."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Bloom said she knew her son was going to attend the rally, but that she tried to “stay out of his political views.” She acknowledged her son supported President Donald Trump and that the rally had "something to do with" the president, but insisted Trump is "not a white supremacist."
Heyer's death was widely mourned across social media; friends who started a GoFundMe page for Heyer's family said she “was murdered while protesting hate.”
Condemnation rained down on Fields from both sides of the aisle.
As a Trump supporter, I disavow James Alex Fields Jr. - regardless of his affiliation. His actions today were beyond disgusting.— stugots (@Morty_Fied) August 13, 2017
In a statement, the City of Charlottesville condemned Heyer's death as a "senseless act of violence" which took place as Heyer was "exercising her peaceful first amendment right to free speech."
A photographer caught Fields displaying symbols of Vanguard America, a group which believes “a government based in the natural law must not cater to the false notion of equality."
The group attempted to distance itself from Fields in a statement posted to its Twitter account.