Charlottesville protests: Car plows into crowd; 1 dead, several injured [Updates]

At least one person has been killed and 19 injured after a car has ran into protesters at the Charlottesville protests between Unite the Right and counter demonstrators. RT journalist on the scene said that there were "extremely heavy injuries" sustained during the incident.

The victim was identified by police as a 32-year-old woman. Charlottesville Police Department chief Al Thomas told a press conference that the woman was crossing the street as the "three-vehicle crash" occurred.

The detained driver of the car has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, according to Superintendent Martin Kumer, of the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail, who briefed the media.

Fields Jr. faces charges of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and a failure to stop his vehicle.


University of Virginia Medical Center earlier told the New York Times it has treated 19 people for injuries and that one person is dead.


The Charlottesville mayor, Mike Signer tweeted that a life had been lost and adding that he is "furious and heartsick by the car crash that has injured many."
Video footage taken at the scene by RT America's web producer Alex Rubinstein shows a damaged light-colored Toyota vehicle and a larger dark-colored SUV.

"I saw two cars that were totaled, the trunk was just completely smashed. A woman was inside crying, there was blood on the hood of her vehicle, there was blood all over the place... I saw about sixteen people injured, some of them flying through the air over the hood of the car," Rubinstein said.

Another video posted on Facebook shows the moment the dark gray car rams into the light gray car before violently reversing.


A number of people appear to be thrown into the air with the force of the crash. The street was crowded with demonstrators at the time.

A witness told Ruptly he saw several people lying on the ground, being treated by medics.

Police have cordoned off the scene.

"Please avoid area of 4th and water streets -- multiple injuries after crash --- cpd and va. state police responding," Charlottesville police said on Facebook.


Charlottesville City Hall tweeted authorities were responding to a "three vehicle crash" at Water and 4th Street, and that "several pedestrians" were struck and multiple injuries have been reported.

Footage taken by Brennan Gilmore, former chief of staff to gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, shows the vehicle speeding towards the demonstrators as people can be heard screaming.

Moments later, the same car is seen reversing rapidly away from the scene of the crash.


Speaking live from his Bedminster golf resort, President Donald Trump said: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

"What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives." he added. Trump's press conference was called for his signing of the Veteran's Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017.


Comment:
Update 1: One witness describes the incident as 'an intentional terrorist attack' and that the car did not have a license plate:


Update 2: A helicopter monitoring the scene crashed into the woods nearby, killing two people on board.
Virginia State Police identified the two people who died in the crash as the aircraft's pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. Cullen left behind a wife and two sons.

The police later confirmed that the crashed helicopter "was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville."

"There is no indication of foul play being a factor of the crash," the statement added.


Update 3: President Trump condemns the violence at the rally and offeres condolences:
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump said in a Saturday address, adding that he has been "closely following" the events in Charlottesville.

"I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and we agreed that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now," he said, adding, "We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection for each other."

"No matter our color, creed, religion, our political party, we are all Americans first," Trump said.
While Trump noted that the division "has been going on for a long, long time" he added that it "has no place in America."

Trump later offered condolences to the victim of an apparent car attack in Charlottesville, which has been identified as a 32-year-old woman. The car rammed through a crowd of people taking part in the opposing rallies of "Unite the Right" protesters and counter-demonstrators and hitting other vehicles. RT America's Alex Rubinstein reported that the people marching at the scene were anti-fascist demonstrators.

"Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!"Trump tweeted.

While critics take issue with Trump for not directly condemning white supremacists:
Others have disagreed with the idea that the white nationalists were solely to blame, saying that both sides engaged in clashes throughout the day. Right-wing writer Mike Cernovich tweeted a photo of protesters with Confederate flags facing off with a black masked man holding an improvised aerosol can flamethrower, who is pointing the flame at the group of white nationalists. He argued that the critics of the far-right "ignore half of this picture."
Update 4: Virginia Governor Terry R. McAuliffe lashes out at white supremacists:
"You pretend that you are patriots - but you're anything but a patriot. You wanna talk about patriots, talk about Thomas Jefferson, George Washington - who brought our country together. Think about the patriots today who are putting their lives in danger - they are patriots - you are not," he said.

McAuliffe went on to stress that outsiders that had come to Virginia to promote hatred were less than welcome.

"Our message is plain and simple: Go home. You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. Shame on you."

Referring to the US being a global melting pot, "the nation of immigrants" since it its early years, McAuliffe argued that"diversity, the mosaic tile of immigrants is what makes us so special."

"My message is clear - we are stronger than you. You have made our Commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed, there is no place for you here - there is no place for you in America," he said.

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