CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted into violence over the weekend at a large gathering of white nationalists and counterprotesters. Three people were killed.
A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., is in jail on charges he rammed his car into a crowd of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding at least 19 others. Virginia State Police are investigating the death of two state troopers after their helicopter, which had been deployed to the protests, crashed outside the city.
White nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members— had descended on the city to rally against plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Hundreds of other people came out to protest against them.
Rally supporters and counterprotesters threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and long guns. In the early afternoon, officials say, Fields rammed his car into a crowd of counter protesters on a downtown street. Hours later, the state police helicopter crashed outside the city.