Car Crashes Into Crowd Of Innocent Bystanders During White Nationalist Protest In Charlottesville
Multiple people were injured and transported to the hospital.
Update (6:35 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): In a media briefing in Charlottesville Saturday evening, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe acknowledged that today's violent protests have ultimately resulted in three fatalities and several injuries — some life threatening. McAuliffe urged neo-Nazis to leave the Commonwealth of Virginia and never come back. "You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. Shame on you. Go home and never come back. Take your hatred and bitotry."
Charlottesville Chief of Police Al Thomas also confirmed that a 32-year-old female pedestrian was killed during the incident where the driver struck several rallygoers along with two other vehicles in the area before reversing the car and driving away. The identity of the victim has not been released as law enforcement works to notify her next of kin.
Thomas also verified that the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd this afternoon is in custody. The vehicle was located shortly after the incident, and the male suspect was arrested with charges pending. Law enforcement is currently treating it as a criminal homicide investigation.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
Thomas also said that two Virginia State Police officers died in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County outside of Charlottesville. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer declared that this country has overcome a lot and the city of Charlottesville and the American people will also overcome the violent acts and tragedies of today's rally. President Trump tweeted his condolences.
Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today. You're all among the best this nation produces.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017'
Update (6:02 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): Officials are reporting that a Virginia State Police helicopter has crashed in a wooded area a few miles from Charlottesville. The helicopter was being used as part of the patrol for today's rally and protests. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Update (5:17 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): The Charlottesville Police Department confirmed on its Facebook page that there were 15 other injuries from the Emancipation Park rally.
Update: (4:46 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): Law enforcement officials have confirmed that one of the drivers of one of the three cars involved in the accident is in custody. Whether the suspect in custody is the driver of the silver Dodge Charger that caused the accident has yet to be confirmed.
Update (4:38 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): Virginia Attorney General tweeted on Saturday afternoon in response to Trump's statement about Charlottesville during his press conference in New Jersey.
The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of "many sides." It is racists and white supremacists.— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) August 12, 2017'
Update (4 p.m., EST, Aug. 12): University of Virginia Hospital has confirmed one person has died and 19 people were injured. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer also confirmed the death on Twitter and urged people to go home.
I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will--go home.— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017'
Update (3:30 p.m. EST, Aug. 12): President Donald Trump spoke on the violent protests in Charlottesville during a press conference in New Jersey on a working vacation Saturday afternoon.
In a statement, Trump said the United States "condemns in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.
"What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time."
Trump said he had spoken with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and they both "agreed that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation, and true affection for each other."
We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST. pic.twitter.com/FesMiQSKKn— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017'
Trump did not take a moment to answer questions from the media regarding whether he would be denouncing white nationalists.
After tensions heightened during a white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, a driver in a silver Dodge Charger plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters and innocent bystanders injuring several people and slamming into two other vehicles. The driver then put the car in reverse and drove away while marchers chased the vehicle.
Social media users captured the incident on Twitter, showing multiple people who were struck by the vehicle. According to AP, three cars were involved in the incident and at least four people have been injured, including one person carried out on a stretcher. Police have not confirmed whether the incident was intentional. Virginia State Police and local law enforcement in riot gear worked to clear the area which is now an active crime scene, and the incident is under investigation.
Warning: The videos and photos in the tweets below are graphic.
Protests in the city erupted after the scheduled rally "Unite the Right" was canceled earlier Saturday afternoon. White naitonalists and neo-Confederates planned the rally in Emancipation Park to protest the city's plans to remove Confederate monuments. Friday night, rallygoers marched through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville with torches chanting "white lives mater," "blood and soil" and other hateful messages.
Early Saturday morning, white nationalists and alt-right members were throwing rocks and bottles at counter-protesters. Video and photos on social media of the violent activities continue to show the chaos and hatred of the white supremacist protest.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak on the protests in Charlottesville from his golf resort in New Jersey this afternoon. Check back with Blavity as new developments are confirmed.