One person was killed, and several more injured in Charlottesville, Virginia, after white nationalists and Alt-Right protesters clashed with counter-protesters, igniting riots across the city.
On Friday night, hundreds of marchers descended on the University of Virginia carrying torches and yelling slogans “white lives matter” and “blood and soil”. However, protests turned violent on Saturday, as white supremacists clashed with counter-demonstrators and culminated when a car driven by a white nationalist plowed into a crowd of demonstrators.
The suspect, James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio was charged with second-degree murder after the authorities said he smashed a car into a crowd of protesters in an episode that left a 32-year-old woman dead and injured at least 19 other people who were protesting a rally staged by white nationalists.
A Dodge Challenger, driven by James Alex Fields, plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville and then fleeing the scene
Several news photos showed the suspect, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, standing with a half-dozen other men, all wearing the Vanguard America uniform of khakis and white polo shirts. The men were holding white shields with Vanguard America’s black-and-white logo of two crossed axes. The Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee, which is due to be removed and is described as the main reason of clashes between two groups, was seen in the background.
James Alex Fields will be charged with second degree murder and several other
Mr. Fields was driving a Dodge Challenger “at a high rate of speed” in downtown Charlottesville at about 1:45 p.m., a spokeswoman for the city said in a statement. He drove the car into a sedan, which hit a minivan that was in front of it. The impact of the crash pushed the sedan and the minivan into a crowd of pedestrians. Mr. Fields fled the scene in the Challenger but was stopped a short time later by the Charlottesville police.
Emergency crews tending to the victims with damaged cars seen in the background
Vanguard America denied any association with Fields, who was described by the police and relatives as “an unstable personality”. He was living with his mother until “five or six months ago” when he moved to his own apartment in Maumee, Ohio, according to an interview that Ms. Bloom gave to The Toledo Blade.
A friend and former neighbor of Ms. Bloom’s in the condominium complex where she lived until last year remembered her son as a quiet teenager who “kept to himself a lot. “He had some trouble in school making friends,” said the friend, who requested anonymity because she said she feared for her safety.
The Governor of Virginia has declared a State of Emergency and has put National Guard on standby.