Charlottesville victim 'always defended what she believed in,' mother says

PHOTO: Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car rammed into a crowd during a march in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 13, 2017.PlayFacebook
WATCH Young woman killed in Charlottesville violence 'was a strong person'

The mother of the 32-year-old woman who died after a car rammed into a crowd that was marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday said her daughter was always "fierce about defending her beliefs," and even as a child questioned conventional wisdom.

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"Heather was a very passionate person," Susan Bro, the mother of victim Heather Heyer, told ABC News. "She had very strong beliefs, and even as a small child she was fierce about defending her beliefs."

"She didn’t do it in a way so much of arguing, as a way so much of saying, 'Tell me why? Tell me why I can't do this,' or, 'Tell me why you believe that.'" Bro said of Heyer, who worked as a paralegal.

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SLIDESHOW: White nationalists and counterprotesters clash in Charlottesville

"At times as a small child that would be maddening, but I encouraged that in her, to be a strong independent person and to stand up for what she believed in," said the mother. "She always believed in treating people fairly."

Heyer's stepfather, Kim Bro, echoed the young woman's mother.

"She was believing in what she was doing," he said.

Susan Bro said she is numb over the loss of her daughter. She added that she is also conscious that she is not the only person to lose a child in Saturday's violence.

James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man, has been arrested in connection with the incident Saturday that in addition to killing Heyer, sent 19 people to the hospital.

"I've not only lost a daughter, his mother has lost her son," Bro said of the mother of the suspect. "She will never have her son back in the way that he was."

"Heather's life was not about hate," her mother added, "and this young man who ran my daughter down mistakenly believed that hate would change the world, and it doesn't."

"Hate harms people, and I don't want more hate brought by my daughter's death," she said. "I want peace that she would want. I want change. I want equality. I want fairness, and I want it done peacefully."

Bro said she had dinner with her daughter about a week ago.

"We had talked about the rally, and I never asked her if she was coming or not," she said. "I figured she probably would but I didn’t ask because I believe adult children have a right to privacy, and she is an adult."

She learned of her daughter's getting hurt from Heyer's friend.

"I just got word from her best friend, who got word from one of the young women that had been with her that the hospital was trying to find her next of kin," Bro recalled.

Now, she said, she isn't sleeping because "every time I close my eyes I have tears running down my face."

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