Heather Heyer.


Heather Heyer, killed Saturday while protesting against a white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Va., was an “empathetic” worker with a dry sense of humor, according to an attorney for whom she worked.

Heyer, 32, died after a man whom police identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, drove his car into a group of counter-protesters following the “Unite the Right” event. Fields faces a second degree murder charge and other charges.

Heyer had worked as a legal assistant since July 2012 at Miller Law Group, a three-attorney firm in Charlottesville focused on consumer bankruptcy, real estate and estate planning.

The firm had recently celebrated her five-year anniversary at work, said firm attorney Larry Miller, reached by phone on Sunday.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “I’m in shock. I’m in the office right now. Her chair is where she left it Friday night.”

Heyer was born in Ruckersville, Va., and lived in Charlottesville, according to the firm’s website. Her primary responsibilities were working with bankruptcy clients and handling document intake and data entry. Heyer was “empathetic” toward bankruptcy clients experiencing financial problems and she was a “conscientious” worker, Miller said. She graduated from William Monroe High School in Stanardsville, Va.

Other attorneys at Miller Law Group are Jackson Boylan and Melvin Burruss.

Miller said he had heard last week that a couple of firm employees planned to protest the rally. On Sunday, the town was “zoo,” Miller said, with a heavy media presence. Two Virginia state troopers monitoring Saturday’s protests in a helicopter also were killed when their helicopter crashed. Nineteen people were injured at the protest.

“It seems to be out of control, and I don’t know why,” he said.