The mother to the man accused plowing into people with his car in Charlottesville claims she thought her son was going to a Trump-related rally. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) reports.
CINCINNATI — The mother of the man accused of killing one and injuring 19 in Saturday’s domestic terror attack in Charlottesville, Va., called 911 from her Florence, Ky., apartment at least twice reporting her son was attacking or threatening her.
According to records, authorities from the Boone County (Ky.) Sheriff’s Office and the Florence Police Department responded nine times from November 2010 through February 2013 to the condominium of Samantha Bloom, 49, and her son, James Alex Fields Jr.
In 2011, Bloom called police to report her son “is being very threatening toward her. The mother is in a wheelchair and doesn’t feel in control of the situation and is scared,” according to police dispatcher notes.
The calls were among new details that emerged Monday regarding the family’s sometimes tumultuous past.
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Authorities in Virginia say Fields, a Boone County native, drove his 2010 Dodge Challenger through a crowd of counterprotesters following a white supremacist rally, smashing into two other vehicles and throwing several victims into the air.
Killed was Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville.
What the 911 transcripts reveal
• In November 2010, Bloom called police saying he took her phone and “smacked her in the head … put his hands over her mouth,” after she told him to stop playing video games. She locked herself in the bathroom and Fields had earlier told her that he would “beat her up.” She told the 911 operator that she was afraid of her son.
• In February 2011, she called police at 5:20 a.m. to report Fields had not come home and she was worried about him because he was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Bloom called police back two hours later to report he was home and acting “lethargic.” He threatened to run away if police came to the condo.
• In October 2011, she called authorities again saying she felt threatened by Fields. She was “not assaulted tonight but he is being very threatening toward her. The mother is in a wheelchair and doesn’t feel in control of the situation and is scared.”
• The next month, a woman called authorities back to the condo to report that Fields had threatened Bloom. She told dispatchers that he spat in her face, threatened her and pushed her in the past. That caller said they wanted authorities to take Fields to be assessed, saying Fields was afraid to take him herself in a car.
Records show Bloom and Fields Jr. lived at the Meadows of Farmview address for 10 years. Bloom told media she had recently moved to Maumee, Ohio, for her job and that Fields had moved out recently.
Former classmates, teachers say they saw strange behavior
Caitlin Wilson, a graduate of Randall K. Cooper High School who went to school with Fields, said as early as middle school Fields would draw swastikas and talk about loving Hitler.
“When I saw his mugshot, I wasn’t shocked,” she said.
Wilson agrees with the assessment Cooper Principal Michael Wilson gave of Fields on Sunday: That he was quiet and kept to himself.
She said when Fields would speak up, it wasn’t friendly.
Boone County Schools spokeswoman Barbara Brady said school officials were not aware of any situation at Cooper High regarding Fields’ behavior at the time of his enrollment.
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She also said that former Cooper teacher Derek Weimer never reached out to the administration about his concerns. Weimer had told The Enquirer there was a complaint filed by a teacher regarding an assignment Fields turned in that was “very much along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement.”
Brady also called into question the trustworthiness of former Cooper students who had taken to social media to talk about Fields’ behavior.
“How can you trust that information now if they didn’t do anything about it then?” she asked via email.
Brady also said she wondered why students didn’t report Fields’ behavior at the time, adding, “Now they are crawling out of the woodwork to get their 15 seconds of fame to say they knew something back then.”
James Alex Fields Jr., left, in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo: Alan Goffinski via AP)
When asked, Wilson, the former classmate, said she and others didn’t report it.
“This is something I’m guilty of, too, I kind of brushed it off as just creepy,” Wilson said. “We thought it was all talk. No one ever thought he would do something so violent.”
Another student, Keegan McGrath, 18, told the Associated Press he was roommates with Fields on a class trip to Europe in 2015. He told the AP Fields referred to Germany as “the Fatherland,” had no interest in being in France, and refused to interact with the French.
“He had friends, he had people who would chat with him, it wasn’t like he was an outcast,” McGrath told the AP.
Boone County Schools did not provide exact enrollment dates for Fields despite multiple requests, but did say he graduated in 2015.
Past newspaper reporting paints a bleak picture of Bloom’s life even before Saturday’s events and the 911 calls from Florence.
James Alex Fields Sr. died in an Erlanger crash Dec. 5, 1996, after a vehicle in which he was riding struck a utility pole, according to an Associated Press article from two days later.
He was 33 at the time of death. Fields Jr. would be born to Bloom a little more than five months later.
The AP article said the driver was charged with murder in Field Sr.’s death after he and another passenger left Fields Sr. in the vehicle to return to a bar they had left.
According to the article, responding officer Sgt. Tim Thames, said in an affidavit a motorist stopped him to tell him that he had recently stopped at the wreck to offer assistance to two men standing next to the car.
The article continues, “(the passing motorist) didn’t know Fields was still in the car, Thames said. At their request, the motorist took (the driver of the wrecked car) and (the passenger) back to the bar, where police later found them, Thames said.”
Then, on Aug. 21, 1984, when Samantha Bloom was 16, her father killed her mother then himself, according to a Kentucky Post article from the time.
Marvin Bloom, 42, and Judy Bloom, 37, had recently divorced. Judy Bloom moved into an apartment on Davjo Drive in Cold Spring, Ky., with Samantha four to five months before Marvin killed Judy and himself with a shotgun outside the apartment, according to the article.
A witness at the apartment complex told police they heard the screams at the time of the shooting. They were Samantha Bloom’s, police said.
James Alex Fields Jr., who slammed his car through a crowd of anti-protesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, will not get bond.
Fields Jr. was denied bail in Virginia Monday, making his court appearance via video from jail.
The hearing for Fields is set for Aug. 25. He has been charged with second-degree murder and several other counts.
Contributing: James Pilcher, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and USA TODAY. Follow The Cincinnati Enquirer on Twitter: @Enquirer
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