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Charlottesville protests turn deadly: What we know

Jessica Mink, right, embraces Nicole Jones during a

Jessica Mink, right, embraces Nicole Jones during a vigil on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va., after a car plowed into a crowd of counterdemonstrators. Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

A car plowed into a crowd peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, killing one person. Shortly afterward a state police helicopter that was assisting with the situation crashed outside the city, killing both troopers onboard, authorities said.

Here’s what we know as the story develops.


  • Charlottesville Police identified the driver as James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio. The 20-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene, police said. A bond hearing is set for Monday.
  • Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, said she knew he was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know it was a white supremacist rally. Fields was photographed by the New York Daily News carrying the emblem of one of the hate groups involved, Vanguard America, several hours before the crash. Vanguard America denied any association with Fields on Sunday.
  • On Friday night, white nationalists carried torches though the University of Virginia campus. On Saturday what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade gathered to “take America back” by rallying against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Meantime, hundreds came to protest the racism. In hours of unrest, there were street brawls and violent clashes. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police in riot gear ordered people out of the streets.
  • As peaceful counterprotesters marched downtown, a silver Dodge Challenger suddenly barreled through “a sea of people” and smashed into another car, said Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student. “It was a wave of people flying at me,” said Sam Becker, 24.
  • Heather Heyer, 32, was killed. She died standing up for people of color, friend Felicia Correa said Sunday.
  • City officials said they treated 19 people injured in the car crash and 35 overall. Of the 19, nine have been released and 10 are in good condition, a University of Virginia Health System spokeswoman said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
  • The helicopter, which was deployed for the protests, crashed in a wooded area in Albemarle County, police said. The pilot, Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, died at the scene.
  • Besides the car suspect, at least three other men were arrested in connection with the protests. They are Troy Dunigan, 21, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, who was charged with assault and battery, and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, who was charged with carrying a concealed handgun, state police said.
  • President Donald Trump denounced the conflict broadly on Saturday, saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.” He was criticized for not explicitly denouncing white supremacists. An unnamed White House representative did so in a statement Sunday morning. “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred,” the representative said. “Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
  • Charlottesville decided earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its Emancipation Park. The liberal-leaning city already renamed the park, which had been called Lee Park.
  • Federal authorities have started a civil rights investigation into the deadly car crash.

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