Three are dead and dozens of others are injured after protests turned violent on Saturday, August 12, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A vehicle struck protesters in the street, killing one and injuring at least 19, according to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The driver of the car, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio was taken into custody. Fields is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer at the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail.
The woman killed in the incident was identified by the Charlottesville Police Department as Heather Heyer, 32. She died after being transported to UVA Hospital.
Two police officers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates died in a helicopter crash in a wooded area seven miles southwest of Charlottesville. They were believed to be providing surveillance for the rally and subsequent skirmishes that broke out in downtown Charlottesville. The FAA and NTSB are investigating the crash.
15 people were also injured during the unrest.
Virginia’s Governor declared a state of emergency earlier on Saturday in the city.
The state of emergency allows for appropriate assistance from state and local agencies to “alleviate any conditions resulting from the incident, and to implement recovery and mitigation operations and activities so as to return impacted areas to pre-event conditions in so far as possible,” according to the declaration released by the office of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The Virginia National Guard will assist with State Police to arrest individuals for felonies committed and offenses against public safety.
Hundreds of people showed up for a rally to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park.
The far-right protesters, some waving Confederate flags and carrying shields, are angry about the planned removal of the statue of the general who led the Confederate forces in the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865.
The New York Times reported some protesters were chanting “you will not replace us” and “Jew will not replace us.”
Shiquan Rah, a 21-year-old demonstrator who had joined the counter-protest said, “These people don’t have a message; their message is hate and violence.”
“This is a spiritual war we’re in,” he added.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe urged calm tweeting: “The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable and must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence.”
McAulifee went on to say:
“I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today.
Our message is plain and simple.
You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.
Shame on you.
You pretend that you are patriots but you are anything but a patriot.”
First Lady Melania Trump also condemned the violence tweeting: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate without hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence
Blogger Jason Kessler called for the rally, dubbing it as “pro-white.”
The rally has since been canceled.
Warning – this raw video contains graphic images. Credit: Brennan Gilmore/YouTube