“He had some trouble in school making friends,” said the friend, who requested anonymity because she said she feared for her safety.
“She had struggled with him during his teen years but he came around towards the end of school,” she said, adding, “She was always trying to do the best for her son.”
• In an interview with The Associated Press, Ms. Bloom said she knew her son was going to a rally, but that she tried to “stay out of his political views.” She said that she thought the rally “had something to do with Trump,” adding, “Trump’s not a supremacist.”
• Derek Weimer, 45, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Mr. Fields was one of his students when he taught history at Randall K. Cooper High School. He described Mr. Fields as “a very bright kid but very misguided and disillusioned.”
When Mr. Fields was a freshman, he wrote a report for another class that was “very much along the party lines of the neo-Nazi movement,” Mr. Weimer said.
“A lot of boys get interested in the Germans and Nazis because they’re interested in World War II,” he said. “But James took it to another level.”
• Military records show that Mr. Fields entered the Army on Aug. 18, 2015, around the time his mother wrote on Facebook that he had left for boot camp. Less than four months later, on Dec. 11, his period of active duty concluded. It was not immediately clear why he left the military.