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Woman killed in Charlottesville car-ramming identified

The 32-year old woman killed in Charlottesville on Saturday has been identified as Heather Heyer, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Sunday. Heyer was killed after a car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators protesting against white supremacists.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer called the killing and the injury of others a “terrorist attack with a car used as a weapon.”

He made the comments in an interview Sunday with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The car’s driver, James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

Vanguard America denies that Fields is a member of its group and says it handed out shields to anyone in attendance who wanted them.

The Anti-Defamation League says Vanguard America believes the U.S. is an exclusively white nation, and uses propaganda to recruit young white men online and on college campuses.

Vanguard America confirmed via Twitter account that members were in Charlottesville on Saturday morning, part of what’s believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade, to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Hundreds of others came to protest against the racism.

In the photo, taken by the New York Daily News , Fields stands with a handful of men, all dressed similarly in the usual Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts. The men hold white shields with a black-and-white logo of two axes. The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee is in the background.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced late Saturday that federal authorities will pursue a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash. The violence and deaths in Charlottesville “strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Sessions wrote. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

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