Mourners remember woman killed at Virginia rally, local politicians react to violence

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WLS) -- Mourners gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday to honor the woman who was killed when a car rammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally that descended into violence last weekend.

The 32-year-old was a Charlottesville resident and legal assistant whose mother described her daughter as a courageous, principled woman and firm believer in justice and equality.

Heyer grew up in nearby Greene County and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Her boss, Larry Miller, said the young woman was active in the firm's bankruptcy practice and was like a family member to him.

"She's very compassionate, she's very precise, got a big heart, she wants to make sure that things are right. She cares about the people that we take care of. She's just a great person," Miller said.

FULL VIDEO: Mother of woman killed during Charlottesville violence speaks out
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The mother of a woman who was killed during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia spoke out during her daughter's memorial saying, "they tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her."

Heyer was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered Saturday in Charlottesville to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade - including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They descended on the city for a rally prompted by the city's decision to remove a Confederate monument.

Chaos and violence erupted before the event even began, with counter-demonstrators and rally-goers clashing in the streets. Authorities forced the crowd to disperse, and groups then began roaming through town. Counter-protesters had converged for a march along a downtown street when suddenly a Dodge Challenger barreled into them, hurling people into the air. Video shows the car reversing and hitting more people.

The Ohio man who police say was driving, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., was described by a former high school teacher as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. He was quickly taken into custody and has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.


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Republicans in Springfield commented on the violence in Charlottesville Wednesday.

The fallout from Charlottesville and Trump's comments continues to be an issue for the Republican Party.

At the Republican Chariman's Breakfast, Congressman Rodney Davis (13th District) got a standing ovation when he walked out to speak. Davis was at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia when a gunman opened fire in June during a congressional baseball game. He decried the events in Charlottesville.

"Our party has never been, and never will be built, with people like that joining our Republican Party" said Davis.

Gov. Bruce Rauner also got rounds of applause as he addressed party leaders. He blasted House Speaker Mike Madigan, saying Republicans will pick up seven seats in the house next year, before commenting on Trump and Charlottesville.

"I vehemently disagree with the President's comments, we must stand together against hatred, racism, bigotry, and violence, and we must condemn those actions in Charlottesville in the strongest terms," said Rauner.

"We think what happened in Charlottesville is disgusting, it's abhorrent, it's against anything that we stand for in principal," said Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party Tim Schneider.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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