One person has died and at least 26 have been injured after a car drove into a group of pedestrians at a downtown Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally Saturday afternoon.
In a tweet shared shortly after the incident, Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer announced the casualty — saying he is “heartbroken that a life has been lost here.”
“I urge all people of good will—go home,” the mayor wrote.
At least 26 people were taken to a local hospital from the rally and counter-protests, the Northwest Herald reports. At least 19 of those victims are believed to be injured in the car crash, according to the New York Times.
In a press conference on Saturday evening, the deceased victim was identified by Police Chief Al Thomas as a 32-year-old woman. The driver has been identified by police as 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, according to CNN, Washington Post and the Associated Press. He is being held for second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
In a video posted on Twitter, a vehicle can be seen driving through the crowd and hitting another car. It appears the car hit counter-protestors who came out Saturday to stand against the “Unite the Right” rally.
The incident comes hours after Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency at 11 a.m., according to the Washington Post.
Saturday’s rally was in protest to plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville city park.
Last night, hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus chanting “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us.”
The rally comes a month after a Klu Klux Klan rally in the city on July 8 that was attended by 50 Klan members and a thousand counter-protestors, the New York Times reports. Klan members on social media and at the rally members voiced their support.
Hours after the state of emergency was announced, President Donald Trump urged both groups to remain peaceful tweeting, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
During a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Saturday, Trump condemned the violence that had broken out at the white supremacist rally.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence — on many sides, on many sides,” he said. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a very long time.
“It has no place in America,” Trump continued. “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,” he added, apparently referring to the rally which was organized by white nationalists and met with many counter-protests.
“The hate and division must stop and it must stop right now,” he said.
Later on Saturday, two people were killed in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville. Corinne Geller, a Virignia State Police spokeswoman, told the Associated Press that the helicopter’s pilot and passenger were killed in the crash and that it was linked to the violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day. However, it was not immediately made clear how they were related.