Charlottesville attacker was Nazi sympathizer, says ex-teacher

Former history teacher of James Alex Fields Jr. says he "thought the Nazis were pretty cool guys".

Ben Ariel ,

James Alex Fields Jr.
James Alex Fields Jr.

The 20-year-old Ohio man who was arrested on suspicion of driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, "thought the Nazis were pretty cool guys," his former history teacher said Sunday, according to ABC News.

James Alex Fields Jr. was arrested on Saturday night and charged with second-degree murder following the incident in which one woman was killed and 19 injured.

The teacher, Derek Weimer, says he taught World History to Fields, as well as a course called America's Modern Wars, while Fields was a student at Randall K. Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky. He described Fields as being "fairly quiet," "smart," and also an open admirer of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

"He would say things that had that bent to it," Weimer told ABC News of Fields' interest in Nazism. "He really thought the Nazis were pretty cool guys."

Weimer said that he and Fields engaged in many private discussions, as well as the ones that were held publicly in class, and that Weimer frequently attempted to "challenge his beliefs" about Nazism.

He said that Fields confessed to reading and enjoying Mein Kampf, Hitler's 1925 autobiography.

"He would usually make his points in a calm and respectful way," Weimer told ABC News.

He noted that Randall K. Cooper High School is not particularly diverse, and said that as a result, he didn't have many opportunities to see Fields interact with many non-whites or Jewish people.