1 killed when car hits protesters in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (FOX NEWS) — One person was killed and several others were injured Saturday when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted that he was “heartbroken that a life has been lost here” and urged “all people of good will [to] go home.”
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told Fox News that three vehicles had collided and multiple injuries, ranging from life-threatening to minor, had been reported. Geller added that the car seen backing away with a smashed hood in the above video had been located.
No arrests had been reported in connection with the incident and authorities said they had not determined whether the crash was intentional.
There was no official word on the number of injuries, but The Washington Post reported that at least 10 pedestrians had been hurt.
Earlier Saturday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency as rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other ahead of the demonstration.
City officials said the declaration allowed them to request additional resources to respond to the clashes expected between hundreds of white supremacists and those opposing them.
As of early afternoon, a single arrest has been reported. The Virginia National Guard has also been deployed.
Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler planned what he called a “pro-white” rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park.
Local police estimated that at least 6,000 people are in attendance. Among those expected to attend are Confederate heritage groups, KKK members, militia groups and “alt-right” activists, who generally espouse a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism.
Kessler said this week that the rally is partly about the removal of Confederate symbols but also about free speech and “advocating for white people.”
“This is about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do,” he said in an interview.
Clashes also broke out Friday night, when hundreds of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches. A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured. The school announced on Saturday that it would be canceling all scheduled events and programming today. They said the medical center would be open.
President Donald Trump tweeted: “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!”
First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville.”
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted shortly after Trump: “I stand with @POTUS against hate & violence. U.S. is greatest when we join together & oppose those seeking to divide us. #Charlottesville”
The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also tweeted, condemning the protests. “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant,” Ryan tweeted. “Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer tweeted before Trump’s reaction: “March & rally in Charlottesville against everything the flag stands for. President Trump must condemn in strongest terms immediately.”
The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings released a statement Saturday denouncing the user of their logo at the rally and that they are considering legal action to stop it.
The team said it “vehemently” disagrees with and is not associated with the event.”
A Michigan-based white nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings uses the Red Wings’ logo.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disappointed that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed President Donald Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.
“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president.”
The city also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named after Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They are now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.
A group called the Monument Fund filed a lawsuit arguing that removing the statue would violate a state law governing war memorials. A judge has agreed to a temporary injunction that blocks the city from removing the statue for six months.
Fox News’ Doug McKelway and The Associated Press contributed to this report.