At least one person was killed and 19 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 Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran told the Associated Press that the driver of the car, a man, was in custody. Moran did not provide the driver’s name.
Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, told the Associated Press several hundred counter-protesters were marching when “suddenly there was just this tire screeching sound.”
A silver sedan smashed into another car, then backed up, barreling through “a sea of people.”
The impact hurled people into the air. Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety in different directions.
The crash occurred approximately two hours after clashes in which hundreds of people scramed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other ahead of the scheduled noon demonstration.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, which city officials said allowed them to request additional resources to respond to the clashes expected between hundreds of white supremacists and those opposing them.
Before the car crash, local authorities said that just one person had been arrested and eight people had been treated for injuries.
Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had 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.
Oren Segal, who directs the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said multiple white power groups had gathered in Charlottesville, including members of neo-Nazi organizations, racist skinhead groups and Ku Klux Klan factions.