La Oferta

April 1, 2023

Woman killed in Virginia attack identified as anti-racism demonstrator

People places flowers at the corner of Fourth and Water Street in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, 13 August 2017. According to media reports at least one person was killed and 19 injured after the car hit a crowd of people counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally which was scheduled to take place in Charlottesville on 12 August. At least 15 others were injured in clashes during protests. EFE

Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug 13 (EFE).- A woman killed when a car slammed into counter-protesters following the cancelation of a planned white supremacist march in this eastern US city was identified Sunday by authorities as 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The paralegal at a law firm and resident of Charlottesville, a college town of 50,000 people, was “struck down by a vehicle while exercising her peaceful first-amendment right to speech,” city officials said in a statement.

“This senseless act of violence rips a hole in our collective hearts,” it added.

City officials said the victim suffered fatal injuries while crossing the street, but her family and friends told local media that she had gathered with other counter-protesters at the corner of 4th Street and East Water Street to express her rejection of a planned rally organized by white supremacists in the city.

Those organizations had tried to stage a rally Saturday in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, considered by many to be a symbol of slavery and racism.

Although the planned midday rally was canceled by state authorities, clashes broke out between the protesters and counter-protesters, including at the spot where Heyer was killed early Saturday afternoon.

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, told reporters that her daughter was a person very concerned about social justice and was attending the counter-demonstration to express her rejection of racism.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, a Democrat, on Sunday said the driver who killed Heyer and injured 20 others, some of whom are hospitalized and listed in critical condition, had committed an act of terrorism.

The driver, identified as James Fields Jr., who has been charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of a wreck, was one of the thousands of demonstrators who had gathered for the white nationalist, “Unite the Right” march, among them former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Two Virginia state troopers who were monitoring the situation in the city also died Saturday when their helicopter crashed.