A 32-year-old woman was killed Saturday and 19 others were injured, five of them critically, when a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of goodwill – go home,” Charlottesville mayor Mike Signer tweeted.
According to Western Journalism, University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed one person was killed and 19 others were being treated for injuries at the hospital.
Video of the scene showed a silver car plowing into a crowd, with one person being tossed in the air. The car then reversed and attempted to flee the scene.
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said the driver, a man, has been arrested. Moran did not immediately provide a name of the driver.
At least one witness said the incident was no accident.
“Yeah, it was intentional,” said witness Dan Miller. “About 40 miles an hour, hit about 15-20 people, crashed into the two cars in front of it, and then backed up and sped away while cops were standing on the side of the road and didn’t do anything.”
President Donald Trump condemned the violence that erupted in Charlotte.
“We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides,” he said Saturday.
He said he spoke with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and agreed “the hate and division must stop and it must stop right now.”
“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order, and the protection of innocent lives,” Trump said.
McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the city Saturday.
“It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
Earlier Saturday, police and protesters were battling after the “Unite the Right” rally organized by a variety of white supremacist groups had devolved into violence, with counter-protesters battling white supremacists and police fighting both sides.
State Delegate David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, the minority leader of Virginia’s House, said the police response was necessary.
“Things were getting out of hand in the skirmishes between the alt-right and what I would describe as the outside agitators who wanted to encourage violence,” Toscano said, referring to the counter-protesters.
The rally was triggered by a Charlottesville proposal to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.
Hours later, Trump tweeted condolences to the families of the victim in the car crash.
Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017