(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

WASHINGTON: The young man accused of ploughing a car into a crowd of people protesting a white supremacist rally was fascinated with Nazism, idolised Adolf Hitler, and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race, a former high school teacher said on Sunday (Aug 13).

A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured in the attack in Charlottesville. 

In an interview with The Associated Press, teacher Derek Weimer said 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr had gone through the process of trying to join the army, but had been rejected, which Weimer described as “a big let down” for Fields.

In high school, Fields was an “average” student, but had studied the German language with a keen interest in military history, Hitler, and Nazi Germany, according to Weimer.

Weimar said he was Fields’ social studies teacher at Randall K Cooper high school in Union, Kentucky, in Fields’ junior and senior years.

Democrats and Republicans criticized President Donald Trump for waiting too long to address the violence – his first major crisis on the domestic front that he has faced as president – and for failing when he did speak out to explicitly condemn white-supremacist marchers who ignited the melee.

Trump on Saturday initially denounced what he called “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

On Sunday, however, the White House added: “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

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