The Ohio man who is accused of plowing his car into people protesting against white nationalists in Charlottesville last weekend attended basic training at a military base in Georgia but did not finish because he did not “meet training standards,” U.S. Army officials said Monday.
James Alex Fields Jr. did his training at Ft. Benning in Columbus from August to December of 2015.
“He was, however, released from active duty due to a failure to meet training standards,” the Army said in a prepared statement. “As a result, he was never awarded a military occupational skill nor was he assigned to a unit outside of basic training."
The Army declined to elaborate.
Fields has been charged with second-degree murder in Charlottesville. Authorities say he intentionally ran his car into a line of other vehicles Saturday, an incident that killed a 32-year-old woman and injured 19 others. A photographer said he saw Fields earlier in Charlottesville Saturday with symbols of Vanguard America, a group whose manifesto declares that a “government based in natural law must not cater to the false notion of equality,” The New York Times reported. The organization has denied any ties to Fields. The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation of the crash.