CHARLOTTESVILLE — Chaos and violence turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.
Hours later, two state police officers died when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of town. Officials would not confirm their identities nor whether the crash was related to Saturday’s protests.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency in the morning, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”
Maurice Jones, Charlottesville’s African American city manager, looked stricken as he spoke: “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would.”
Charlottesville is my home town. I was born there, raised there and I married there. My parents met there. My family has been there for 8 generations, at least. This violence and chaos breaks my heart.