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Suspect in deadly Charlottesville car rampage charged with federal hate crimes

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Federal hate crime charges have been filed against a man accused of plowing a car into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, killing a woman and injuring dozens more. The Department of Justice announced that an indictment returned Wednesday charges 21-year-old James Alex Fields of Ohio with 30 crimes, including one count of a hate crime resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, and 28 other hate crimes involving an attempt to kill other people who were injured. 

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Fields was also charged with one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity, resulting in Heyer's death.

Fields was photographed hours before the attack with a shield bearing the emblem of one of the hate groups taking part in the rally. He also engaged in chants promoting white supremacist and other racist and anti-Semitic views, the indictment says. 

After an "unlawful assembly" was declared, he allegedly accelerated his car into a racially and ethnically diverse crowd of people who had been protesting racism and discrimination, killing Heyer.

He has been in custody since then.  

"Hatred and violence have no place in our communities," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. "The investigation of hate crimes is a top priority of the FBI, and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure those who perpetrate such despicable acts are held accountable."  

Fields already faces state charges of first-degree murder and other crimes.