One Killed, 19 Injured At Pro Trump/KKK Rally In Charlottesville, Virginia; Two Police Die In Helicopter Crash

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Chaos and violence turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.article-charlottesville-4-0811
Hours later, two state police officers died when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of town. Officials identified them as Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., who was the pilot, and H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, Va., who was a passenger. State police said their Bell 407 helicopter was assisting with the unrest in Charlottesville. Bates died one day before his 41st birthday; Cullen was 48.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency in the morning, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”

Maurice Jones, Charlottesville’s African American city manager, looked stricken as he spoke. “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would,” he said.

 

State and local officials declined to take reporters’ questions and abruptly left after making statements.

 

In an emergency meeting Saturday evening, the Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously to give police the power to enact a curfew or otherwise restrict assembly as necessary to protect public safety.

Video recorded at the scene of the car crash shows a 2010 gray Dodge Challenger accelerating into crowds on a pedestrian mall, sending bodies flying — and then reversing at high speed, hitting yet more people. Witnesses said the street was filled with people opposed to the white nationalists who had come to town bearing Confederate flags and anti-Semitic epithets.

 

A 32-year-old woman was killed, according to police, who said they were investigating the crash as a criminal homicide. The driver of the Challenger was taken into custody and charges were pending, said Al Thomas, the Charlottesville police chief.

 

The car is registered to 20-year-old James Alex Fields of Ohio, according to vehicle registration records reviewed by The Washington Post. Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Superintendent Martin Kumer told The Post that a man with the same name and age was booked Saturday on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit-and-run. Kumer said Fields is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Charlottesville General District Court.

Records show Fields last lived in Maumee, Ohio, about 15 miles southwest of Toledo.

 

Angela Taylor, a spokeswoman for the University of Virginia Medical Center, said 19 others were brought to the hospital in the early afternoon after the car barreled through the pedestrian mall. Five were in critical condition as of Saturday evening. Another 14 people were hurt in street brawls, city officials said.

 

Earlier, police evacuated a downtown park as rallygoers and counterprotesters traded blows and hurled bottles and chemical irritants at one another, putting an end to the noon rally before it officially began.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP; Reuters
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