Woman Killed as Car Rams Counter-Protesters at White Nationalist Rally; 2 Cops Killed in Crash
The mayor of Charlottesville, Va., said he's "furious and heartsick" at the death of a counter-protester after a car plowed into a crowd denouncing racism, also injuring at least 19, according to University of Virginia Medical Center.
"I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will--go home," tweeted Mayor Mike Signer, who had urged residents to attend community events intended to counter the white supremacist demonstration instead of facing off in the streets.
A 32-year-old woman, whose name was withheld pending notification of next of kin, was killed. The driver, operating a gray Dodge Challenger with Ohio plates, was arrested a short distance from the scene. He was later identified as James Alex Fields, Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, and is currently charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and hit-and-run.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open a federal terrorism investigation. "The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate," he said in a statement tonight. "Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism."
Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas told reporters that some of the wounded had life-threatening injuries.
Bringing the day's death total to three, a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed near a golf course in Charlottesville shortly before 5 p.m.; two on board were killed while there were no injuries on the ground. Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., were operating in connection with the rally enforcement.
"You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot... you came here today to hurt people, and you did hurt people," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe blasted the white nationalists at an evening press conference. "...Go home and never come back -- take your hatred and take your bigotry."
Signer similarly slammed "people who belong in the trash heap of history," vowing "this day will not define us."
City officials did not take any questions.
— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) August 12, 2017
At a signing for Veterans Affairs reform legislation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., today, President Trump called the situation in Charlottesville "very very sad."
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides -- on many sides. 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 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.