Updated: 9:40 p.m.
Authorities say a 20-year-old Ohio man accused of driving a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.
The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement Saturday night that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.
Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said Fields was in custody there Saturday night. Kumer says he doesn’t believe Fields has obtained an attorney yet.
He says a bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.
President Donald Trump blamed “many sides” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the wake of a white nationalist demonstration, drawing swift reactions.
Democrats and some Republicans called on him to specifically denounce white supremacy and racially motivated hate by name. Vice President Mike Pence supported the president’s speech. A white supremacist website praised the comments.
Trump is calling for “a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”
The president made his comments at a bill signing ceremony at his golf club in New Jersey where he’s on a working vacation.
Trump says he’s spoken with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and “we agreed that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.”
He says “we have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and … true affection for each other.”
A hospital official says one person has died and 19 were injured after a car plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville.
University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death to The Associated Press.
The mayor of Charlottesville said via Twitter on Saturday that he is “heartbroken” to announce that a “life has been lost.” He did not provide details.
Video of the incident shows a silver Dodge Charger crashing into a car where protesters were marching and then rapidly reversing away.
Michael Nigro, a photojournalist from Brooklyn, told reporters shortly after the incident he heard the screech of tires and saw a gray Charger accelerate toward the group. Several hundred people were peacefully marching through downtown.
Nigro says it was “chaos and mayhem” as bodies flew.
Read the earlier reporting below.
A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white supremacist rally in downtown Charlottesville Saturday afternoon, ratcheting up the tension in an increasingly chaotic confrontation in this usually quiet college town.
It is unclear how many were injured in the incident (video link below). An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately after the car careened into the line of several hundred people.
President Donald Trump is tweeting about the violence that has erupted amid a white supremacist march in Virginia.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Trump tweeted Saturday that “we ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.” He then wrote “There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
The demonstrations began Friday in Charlottesville with white nationalists marching through town and while carrying lit torches. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters.
Some of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs.
The White House was silent for hours about the clashes except for a solitary tweet from First Lady Melania Trump.
who called for peace after the clashes broke out.
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017
Trump said Saturday on Twitter: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”
Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, said counter-protesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.” A silver sedan smashed into another car, then backed up, plowing through “a sea of people.”
People scattered, running for safety in different directions, he said.
It happened about two hours after violent clashes broke out between white nationalists, who descended on the town to rally against the city’s plans to remove a statue of the Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others who arrived to protest the racism.
Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least eight were injured and one arrested in connection to the earlier violence. It remains unclear if the driver of the car has been apprehended.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out.
Small bands of protesters who showed up to express their opposition to the rally were seen marching around the city peacefully by midafternoon, chanting and waving flags. Helicopters circled overhead.
Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a “pro-white” rally to protest the city of Charlottesville’s decision to remove the confederate statue from a downtown park.
Colleen Cook, 26, stood on a curb shouting at the rally attendees to go home.
Cook, a teacher who attended the University of Virginia, said she sent her son, who is black, out of town for the weekend.
“This isn’t how he should have to grow up,” she said.
Cliff Erickson leaned against a fence and took in the scene. He said he thinks removing the statue amounts to erasing history and said the “counter-protesters are crazier than the alt-right.”
“Both sides are hoping for a confrontation,” he said.
It’s the latest confrontation in Charlottesville since the city about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C., voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Lee.
In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group traveled there for a rally, where they were met by hundreds of counter-protesters.
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.
Between rally attendees and counter-protesters, authorities were expecting as many as 6,000 people, Charlottesville police said this week.
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.
Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which track extremist groups, said the event has the potential to be the largest of its kind in at least a decade.
Officials have been preparing for the rally for months. Virginia State Police will be assisting local authorities, and a spokesman said the Virginia National Guard “will closely monitor the situation and will be able to rapidly respond and provide additional assistance if needed.”
Police instituted road closures around downtown, and many businesses in the popular open-air shopping mall opted to close for the day.
Both local hospitals said they had taken precautions to prepare for an influx of patients and had extra staff on call.
There were also fights 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.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said he was disgusted 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.”
Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a liberal-leaning city that’s home to the flagship University of Virginia and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
The statue’s removal is part of a broader city effort to change the way Charlottesville’s history of race is told in public spaces. The city has also renamed Lee Park, where the statue stands, and Jackson Park, named for Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. They’re now called Emancipation Park and Justice Park, respectively.
For now, the Lee statue remains. 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.
Warning: the video below is graphic and contains explicit language.