(CNN) Charlottesville, Virginia – One person was killed and 19 were hurt when a speeding car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, where a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups had been scheduled to take place, the city tweeted on its verified account.
A 32-year-old woman was killed while walking across the street, Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said. Police were still in the process of notifying her family.
Two Virginia State Patrol troopers were killed in a helicopter crash while “assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville,” the agency said in a news release. The pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates, who would have turned 41 today (August 13), died in the crash.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a pointed message for the right-wing groups that flocked to Charlottesville on Saturday: “Go home. … You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”
In addition to the one death and 19 injuries in the car-ramming incident, the city said there were at least 15 other injuries associated with the scheduled rally.
Federal authorities said a civil rights investigation into the deadly crash was opened hours after it happened.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said US Attorney Rick Mountcastle is leading the investigation and has the full support of the Deparment of Justice.
“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated,” Sessions said in a statement. “Justice will prevail.”
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time,” said a statement from the Richmond, Virginia FBI field office.
“I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will — go home,” Mayor Mike Signer wrote on Twitter.
Virginia’s governor had earlier declared an emergency, and police worked to disperse hundreds of protesters in the college town after clashes broke out ahead of the rally’s scheduled noon ET start.
Fistfights and screaming matches erupted on Saturday, barely 12 hours after a scuffle on Friday night at the nearby University of Virginia between torch-bearing demonstrators and counterprotesters.
Saturday’s rally was the latest event drawing white nationalists and right-wing activists from across the country to this Democratic-voting town – a development precipitated by the city’s decision to remove symbols of its Confederate past.
Here are the latest developments:
- The suspect being held in a Virginia jail in connection with a deadly crash near a scheduled rally of white nationalists has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer with the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail. Fields is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
- Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told the Toledo Blade, a CNN affiliate, that he told her last week he was going to an “alt-right” rally, but she didn’t get involved in his political views. “I told him to be careful … if they are going to rally, to make sure he is doing it peacefully,” she told the newspaper. CNN’s attempt to reach Bloom were unsuccessful.
- Angela Taylor, a spokeswoman for the University of Virginia Medical Center, said there were five patients from the crash in critical condition, four in serious condition, six in fair condition and four in good condition.
- Video of the incident shows a gray Dodge Challenger driving quickly down a narrow side street lined with walking protesters. The sports car rams into the back of a silver convertible, which hits the van in front of it. Soon the Dodge driver slams the car in reverse, going back up the street at a high rate of speed, dragging its front bumper. Several people chase the car. As the sports car retreats, a red and white athletic shoe falls off the bumper.
Another video shows at least one person being thrown over the rear of the car onto the roof of the silver convertible then sliding down onto the hood.
- Witness Chris Mahony said he and a friend, who shot one of the videos, were walking down the street when he saw the gray car on the other side of the street.
“It just sat there, looking down the road,” he said. “I thought that’s a bit strange. There didn’t seem to be any other cars stopping him from going. And then a couple moments we heard a car going incredibly fast down the road and then it plowed into the crowd.”
- Three other people were arrested on Saturday, Virginia State Police said. Two of the men were from out of state. One of the out-of-state men faces a charge of carrying a concealed handgun and the other is charged disorderly conduct. A Virginia man was arrested on suspicion of assault and battery.
- President Donald Trump told reporters: “We are closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
- Former President Barack Obama, quoting Nelson Mandela, wrote on Twitter: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
- Sen. Ted Cruz called on the US Justice Department “to immediately investigate and prosecute today’s grotesque act of domestic terrorism.” In a posting on Facebook, Cruz said it was “tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great nation with bloodshed.” Cruz called the white supremacists “repulsive and evil.”
Top: Demonstrators clash late Saturday morning in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: CNN
First inset: White nationalists carrying torches surround protesters on Friday night at the foot of a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the University of Virginia’s campus. Photo: CNN
Second inset: White nationalists and others march on Friday night through the University of Virginia campus. Photo: CNN
Third inset: A vehicle drives into a group of people demonstrating against a white nationalist rally after police cleared Emancipation Park. Photo: CNN
SOURCE: CNN written by Jason Hanna, Kaylee Hartung, Devon M. Sayers and Steve Almasy