Charlottesville: "It's A Teacher's Worst Nightmare."

Aug 13, 2017

The Ohio man accused of driving his car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday was photographed earlier in the day apparently marching with a group of self-proclaimed fascists. James Alex Fields has been charged with one count of second-degree murder.

Before moving to Maumee, Ohio, Fields lived in Northern Kentucky.


One of his high school teachers says Fields was fascinated with Nazi Germany.  Derek Weimer taught Fields in three classes at Randall K. Cooper High School in Union. He says Fields was intelligent and didn't cause trouble. But he says the quiet boy was also deeply into Adolf Hitler and white supremacy.

Weimer says he did his best to steer Fields away from those interests.

"Your mission as a teacher is really you're teaching these kids valuable fundamentals and skills to be successful in life. When you see something like what culminated in James Fields it's a complete defeat."

Weimer says he used historical examples and events. He drew on stories of his own relatives who fought and died in World War Two. "I would tell stories that would clearly let students know that Nazis and their beliefs and Adolf Hitler, they're evil."

Fields did seem to back away from his interest from it his senior year, Weiner says. "I thought maybe this is working, maybe he's realizing that things like Nazism, Adolf Hitler, they're bad things. It was promising."

Weimer says when he returns to the classroom, his former student will be on his mind.

"When something like this happens you don't think 'oh, it's my neighbor across the street or my son's friend in high school.' No, it's always somebody else or somewhere else. Well, here it is. He came from Boone County. He went to a good school. Lived in a good neighborhood. There were plenty of people around to try to guide him in the right direction. My first feeling is we failed. I failed."

Fields is accused of second degree homicide, and the FBI is looking into whether civil rights charges should be filed.