Heather Heyer was afraid protesters would be violent, friend says

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Story highlights

  • Co-worker says Heather Heyer was afraid there might be gunfire at rally
  • Heyer was killed by a car while she was walking with other counterprotesters

Charlottesville, Virginia (CNN)A co-worker of the woman killed Saturday near a planned white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said her friend was nervous about going but felt she needed to be among the counterprotesters.

Victoria Jackson, who will attend a public memorial service Wednesday morning for Heather Heyer, told CNN that her dear friend wanted to stand up for what she believed in.
One of the last conversations they had Friday before each left for the weekend was about the rally.
    "Heather said, 'I want to go so badly but I don't want to get shot. I don't want to die,' " Jackson remembered Heyer saying.
    Heyer was afraid of the protesters because she believed they were not here for peace, her co-worker at the Miller Law Group said.
    Jackson held back tears as she talked about her friend, whose work station is now surrounded by flowers and messages from clients and friends. The scent of roses filled the air.
    Staff at the Miller Law Group received pens with  a quote Tuesday when they returned to work.
    Each employee at the law firm received a pen Tuesday with a note that read: "Although her desk sits empty today, we will never forget how much she impacted our lives. Her presence will forever be remembered."
    Heyer's family is asking people who attend the memorial service to wear something purple.
    Heyer loved purple. On her work desk are purple sticky notes, purple cover sheets and a pair of plastic purple hands in a thumbs-up position that used to hold her cellphone in place.

    Memorial service scheduled for Wednesday

    "She was an outspoken, outgoing, determined and passionate individual and had a special regard for social injustices and especially those concerning race relations," the venue holding the memorial said in a news release.
    The marquee of the Paramount Theater, where the service will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, reads: "Lives lost but not forgotten Heather, Jay, Berke," including the first names of the state troopers who were killed in a helicopter crash later Saturday.
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    Heyer's family and friends said the 32-year-old paralegal dedicated her life to standing up for those she felt were not being heard.
    "If you knew Heather, you would know that she loves everyone and all she wants is equality for everyone, no matter who you love, no matter what color you are," said close friend and co-worker Marissa Blair, who was with Heyer when she was killed.
    Heather's father, Mark Heyer, said his daughter had strong convictions and was passionate about helping people.
    "She died trying to bring about that purpose," he told CNN on Sunday. "She was always passionate about the beliefs she held, she had a bigger backbone than I did," he said.
    Heather Heyer worked as a paralegal for the Charlottesville-based Miller Law Group, assisting clients through the bankruptcy filing process.
    She ate lunch at her desk because she was dedicated to the needs of her clients, Jackson said, adding that Heyer usually ordered Jimmy John's sandwiches.
    Heather Heyer's desk at the Miller Law Group.
    She had just celebrated her five-year anniversary with the firm last week. Her boss, Larry Miller, said they went out for lunch for the occasion and remembers telling her that she was a lot better than she gave herself credit for. Miller describes Heyer as precise with her work, witty and like family.
    He said he told her Friday, "Have a good weekend. Be careful."
    She also worked as a waitress, Jackson said.
    Heyer was a Charlottesville native, and she spent her formative years in Ruckersville, about 15 miles to the northeast.
    Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will attend the memorial service, he said Tuesday.