Charlottesville, Virginia (AN24)-A 32 year old woman was killed and 19 persons 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 take place, the city tweeted on its verified account.
The driver was later taken into custody, the city said in a news release. It did not name the person. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas said a man was in custody and the subject of a homicide investigation, but he did not name the suspect.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said at a news conference that three people had died, but he did not say where the deaths occurred. Other authorities said two people died when a helicopter crashed near the site of the Saturday confrontations between white nationalists and counterprotesters.
McAuliffe had a pointed message for the right-wing groups that flocked to Charlottesville 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.
“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 Saturday, barely 12 hours after a scuffle 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.