UPDATE: Ex-teacher: Crash suspect had interest in Nazism

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A former teacher of the man accused of plowing his car into counter protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia says the suspect had a keen interest in military history, Hitler and Nazi, Germany.

Derek Weimer on Sunday said that he taught social studies to 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. during his junior and senior years in Kentucky, calling him an average student.

Weimer recalled that school officials had singled out Fields in 9th grade for his political beliefs and that he had made comments that alerted his social studies teacher at the time to "deeply-held, radical" convictions on race and Nazism.

Weimer said Fields was a big Trump supporter because of what he believed to be Trump's views on race. Trump's proposal to build a border wall was particularly appealing to Fields, Weimer said.

A Charlottesville hospital says many of the patients injured after a car drove into a crowd of protesters at a white nationalist rally are improving.

A spokeswoman for the University of Virginia Health System said in a statement Sunday afternoon that nine of the patients the hospital treated have been released. Ten others are in good condition.

A day earlier, the hospital said five patients were in critical condition, four were in serious condition, six were in fair condition and four were in good condition.

The statement also says the hospital treated additional patients related to Saturday's events but that the hospital can't give an exact number.

Virginia State Police say the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are assisting in the investigation into a fatal helicopter crash that claimed the lives of two state troopers.

The helicopter crashed shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday in a wooded area while assisting in law enforcement activities related to the clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville.

The pilot, 48-year-old Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, and 40-year-old Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, died at the scene.

White nationalists were in Charlottesville on Saturday to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.



CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A white nationalist blames police for the violence that erupted before and after a rally where he was scheduled to speak before it turned deadly.

Richard Spencer told The Associated Press on Saturday that he doesn't take responsibility for the violence and accused state and local police of endangering lives in how they handled the rally.

Spencer said that he "did not attempt to engage in any kind of violence. So the idea that I could be held responsible is absurd. It's like blaming the fire department for a fire."

He said that he was pepper-sprayed twice during the day.

Spencer said he recommended that people should disperse after the state of emergency was declared.

Spencer also said he found President Donald Trump's comments on the Charlottesville violence to be "rather vague and kind of lame."


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A woman who identified herself as the mother of the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters says he told her he was going to the rally.

Samantha Bloom, of Ohio, confirmed details about her son's car and his trip to Virginia, saying she received a text from him last week that said he'd gotten some time off from work and was going to a rally.

She said her son hadn't given her any details about the rally but that she told him "to be careful" and to peaceful.

Bloom became visibly upset as she learned that dozens of people were injured during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Bloom said she and Fields had just relocated to the Toledo area from Florence, Kentucky, a Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Authorities say a 20-year-old Ohio man accused of driving a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement Saturday night that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.

Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said Fields was in custody there Saturday night. Kumer says he doesn't believe Fields has obtained an attorney yet.

He says a bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) --Charlottesville Police have identified the suspect authorities say plowed into a group of protesters as James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia state police said one of their agency's helicopters crashed Saturday outside Charlottesville, killing two troopers.

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitoring the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Police said Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton were killed in the crash.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Officials say the deaths of two people in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, have been linked to a violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day.

It was not immediately clear how the crash was connected to the rally. Corinne Geller, a Virignia State Police spokeswoman, says the pilot and a passenger were killed in the crash Saturday afternoon.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -Police say a helicopter has crashed near Charlottesville, Virginia, where violent clashes erupted at the site of a white nationalist rally. However, it was unclear if the crash may have been linked to the rally.

Virginia State Police said Saturday that the helicopter crashed in a wooded area near a home. No one on the ground was injured. Police said they are investigating the cause of the crash.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NBC) -- A state of emergency in Virginia.

Violent clashes breaking out today in Charlottesville as thousands of white nationalists take to the streets.

A car plowed into a crowd counter protesters.

The city's mayor says at least one person is dead.

Social media videos show the moment when a car plowed into a crowd of people on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Witnesses say the victims were counter protesters marching to oppose thousands of white nationalists who descended on the city for a second straight day.

“I saw at least two or three people fly over the hood of his car and then he hit another car that was parked in front of him,” said a bystander.

At least one person was killed and around 20 were injured in the crash.

The crash followed a morning of violent battles between white nationalists and counter protesters.

Alt-right and white nationalist groups are in Charlottesville to protest the city's planned removal of its Robert E. Lee statue.

Displaying confederate and Nazi symbols, they taunted people who confronted their message of hate.

President Donald Trump speaking at his New Jersey Golf Club, “We condemn in strongest terms this display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. This has been going on for a long time in our country…Above all else, we must remember this truth, no matter color, creed, party. We are all Americans first.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency giving the state more resources to try to keep the peace.

Charlottesville Police say one driver has been taken into custody, and at least 35 people were injured in the protest clashes and the car crash today.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) --Hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville ahead of a white nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city's downtown.

Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.

Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a "pro-white" rally to protest Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.

There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.

A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured.



 
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