The ramming of a car Saturday afternoon into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia, leaving one dead and several injured at the scene, has left many lawmakers and ordinary Americans shocked, angry and upset.
And there were two other fatalities related to the rally: A Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into woods nearby, killing two officers. Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates died at the scene, said the state police.
Heading into Sunday, law enforcement officials hope to gain a better idea of the suspect’s motives and his background, while relatives of the injured pray for their loved ones.
Below, a primer to the deadly incident and the details we know so far:
The chaos kicked off when a group of white nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Ku Klux Klan members — descended upon Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally. The gathering was spurred on by the city’s plans to remove a Confederate statue from a local park. The white nationalists were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes. That, in turn, prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.
As the counterprotesters were marching along a downtown street, a silver Dodge Challenger suddenly came barreling through the crowd. The impact tossed people into the air, and left a 32-year-old woman dead. She has not yet been officially identified.
“It was a wave of people flying at me,” Sam Becker, 24, told The Associated Press as he sat in a hospital emergency room, where he was treated for leg and hand injuries.
WHO IS THE SUSPECT AND WHAT ARE THE CHARGES
Law enforcement officials say the driver is James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old who recently moved to Ohio from where he grew up in Kentucky.
Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Associated Press during an interview in Toledo, Ohio, that she knew her son was attending a rally — but she thought it was a rally for President Trump, not for white nationalists.
“I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,” she said.
She added, “I just knew he was going to a rally. I mean, I try to stay out of his political views. You know, we don’t, you know, I don’t really get too involved, I…