A driver in a silver Dodge Challenger on Saturday plowed through a group of counterprotesters who had rallied against white nationalist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia.
According to the Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas, the crash killed a 32-year-old woman and injured nine others. The police are treating it as a criminal homicide, and charges are pending.
The crash happened in the midst of a tense day of protests as white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville to protest plans to tear down Confederate monuments. Violent clashes broke out between protesters and counterprotesters on Friday night and Saturday morning.
Police ordered crowds to disperse before noon. As some counterprotesters began to disperse, a car appeared on a street that at least some demonstrators had believed was blocked off to traffic. It then sped into the crowd, striking multiple people before backing up.
Here’s video of the crash (warning: it’s graphic):
Video of car hitting anti-racist protestors. Let there be no confusion: this was deliberate terrorism. My prayers with victims. Stay home. pic.twitter.com/MUOZs71Pf4— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) August 12, 2017
Police have reportedly detained the driver and the car involved. The suspect has been identified as 20-year-old James Fields. His mother told the Toledo Blade that he’d said he was going to a rally for the “alt-right,” one of the white nationalist groups that was present at the white supremacist marches.
Besides the local investigation, the US Department of Justice is also launching its own investigation into the incident.
“The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning,” the US attorney’s office said in a statement. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”