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A Look Into The Life Of Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer


People in Charlottesville are remembering the 32-year-old woman who died yesterday at a counter protest following a white supremacist rally. Today, police identified her as Heather Heyer. As we mentioned, she was killed when a suspected white supremacist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of people. Mallory Noe-Payne from member station WVTF has the story.

MALLORY NOE-PAYNE, BYLINE: At the site where Heather Heyer died, people came all day, delivering candles, notes of sympathy and flowers. Heyer worked in Charlottesville as a paralegal. Leaving work Friday with her friend and co-worker Courtney Commander, they debated whether to go to this weekend's rally at all.

COURTNEY COMMANDER: She said to us many times, like, I want go so bad, but I just don't want to die. I'm so scared because these people are so serious. And she was the only one that lost her life. I just feel so bad.

NOE-PAYNE: Commander says, while Heyer had never protested before, she always spoke up.

COMMANDER: Heather denounced any type of discrimination, not just racism. She stood up for gay rights and - just anything that she felt like was wrong, she stood for.

NOE-PAYNE: Heyer grew up just north of Charlottesville. Justin Marks first met her in high school.

JUSTIN MARKS: She had the biggest sense of humor, her wit was unparalleled, she could debate anyone under the table, and she had an answer for everything. She was just awake.

NOE-PAYNE: Back at the memorial site, Abby and Eric Carter drove an hour to deliver a handmade bouquet. He didn't know Heyer, but he was still emotional.

ERIC CARTER: She's all of us. We know - I mean, the people who are here right now who are coming and driving by slowly, paying homage. This is all of us. This is America.

NOE-PAYNE: 19 other people were injured in the incident that killed Heyer. James Fields, the alleged driver, has been charged with murder and has his first appearance in court tomorrow. For NPR News, I'm Mallory Noe-Payne in Charlottesville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a freelance reporter and producer based in Richmond, Virginia. Although she's a native Virginian, she's most recently worked for public radio in Boston. There, she helped produce stories about higher education, including a nationally-airing series on the German university system. In addition to working for WGBH in Boston, she's worked at WAMU in Washington D.C. She graduated from Virginia Tech with degrees in Journalism and Political Science.
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