The U.S. Army has confirmed that the Charlottesville driver who drove through a crowd of antifa protesters Saturday was kicked out of active duty after failing basic training.
“The Army can confirm that James Alex Fields reported for basic military training in August of 2015,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson said in a statement. “He was, however, released from active duty due to a failure to meet training standards in December of 2015. As a result, he was never awarded a military occupational skill nor was he assigned to a unit outside of basic training.”
Fields was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding after driving his car into a crowd of protesters in downtown Charlottesville. The crash killed a 32-year-old woman and seriously injured 19 others. The University of Virginia Medical Center said Saturday that five people were in critical condition.
Since he served for more than 90 days in the military, he technically qualifies as a veteran, but because he failed basic, he never received a Military Occupational Specialty. Notably, Fields also had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been prescribed anti-psychotics.
Moreover, his brief stint in the military was not apparently responsible for his radicalization. His mother apparently had no idea about his views, but a former teacher told the Cincinnati Tribune his beliefs were “very much along the lines of the neo-Nazi movement.”
“A lot of boys get interested in the Germans and Nazis because they’re interested in World War II,” the teacher added. “But James took it to another level.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Saturday the Department of Justice was opening a civil rights investigation, and the DOJ later confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the investigation is not limited to Fields barreling through protesters.
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