[UPDATE 2] CNN reports that the suspect has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Maumee, Ohio.
[UPDATE] The AP reports that the driver has been apprehended. Authorities haven’t released any information regarding his identity, aside from his gender.
Friday evening, white nationalists marched on the University of Virginia campus, holding torches, chanting “blood and soil,” “You will not replace us,” and “one people, one nation, end immigration.”
The marchers made contact with counter-protesters as they approached a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the UVA campus:
CBS News reports: “Police arrived on the scene and declared the assembly unlawful. Fights broke out between the two groups of demonstrators, with some marchers swinging their torches. University police said one protester was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. Police said several people reported injuries, including one police officer.”
Mayor Mike Signer issued a statement regarding the Friday evening march, calling it a “cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance”:
I have seen tonight the images of torches on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. When I think of torches, I want to think of the Statue of Liberty. When I think of candelight, I want to think of prayer vigils. Today, in 2017, we are instead seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march down the lawns of the architect of our Bill of Rights. Everyone has a right under the First Amendment to express their opinion peaceably, so here’s mine: not only as the Mayor of Charlottesville, but as a UVA faculty member and alumnus, I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus.
However, Friday evening’s march was merely preamble to Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally, in which members of the alt-right and ethno-nationalists were set to protest the removal of a statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, depicting Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Prior to the scheduled beginning of the ethno-nationalist rally at 12:00 p.m. ET, there were alleged physical and verbal altercations, and according to CNN, “some protesters fired pepper spray at other demonstrators, state police said.”
Police began to break up crowds shortly before noon after city officials declared the gathering an “unlawful assembly.” Police officers spoke on bullhorns, directing people to leave.
During Saturday’s chaos, something horrifying occurred. A Dodge Challenger plowed into a crowd of protesters at high speed, only coming to a stop when it slammed into the back of a silver convertible.
Amid screams and confusion, the driver fled the scene, steering the vehicle in reverse. The car has been found, but the driver has not been apprehended at this time.
According to the Associated Press, one person has died as a result of the attack, and another 19 were injured.