FBI to open civil rights investigation into vehicular death in C - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

FBI to open civil rights investigation into vehicular death in Charlottesville

Police say 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protesters as they walked in the opposite direction on the street, killing 1 woman.  (Source: CNN/Albemarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail) Police say 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protesters as they walked in the opposite direction on the street, killing 1 woman. (Source: CNN/Albemarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail)
Protesters clash in Charlottesville, VA. (Source: CNN) Protesters clash in Charlottesville, VA. (Source: CNN)
A victim of a car hitting pedestrians lies on the ground in Charlottesville. (Source: ACLU of Virginia Via CNN) A victim of a car hitting pedestrians lies on the ground in Charlottesville. (Source: ACLU of Virginia Via CNN)
The victim of a car hitting pedestrians is treated. (Source: ACLU of Virginia Via CNN) The victim of a car hitting pedestrians is treated. (Source: ACLU of Virginia Via CNN)
Police crowd around a car that drove into a group of pedestrians. (Source: CNN) Police crowd around a car that drove into a group of pedestrians. (Source: CNN)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (CNN/RNN) -  The FBI and federal prosecutors announced Saturday night that a civil rights investigation will be opened into the vehicular death of a 32-year-old woman during a white nationalist rally Saturday. 

The woman was killed after police say 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protesters as they walked in the opposite direction on the street. Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, is being held without bail on murder and other charges related to the hit-and-run, officials said. Police report that three people were arrested in relation to the rally. Fields and another arrested are not from the state of Virginia.

Hours after the crash, two law officers were killed in a helicopter crash 7 miles southwest of the city. Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitor the rally in Charlottesville.

Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-Pilot Burke M.M. Bates of Quinton were killed in the crash, Virginia State Police reports.

In an emotional news conference, Virginia Gov.Terry McAuliffe sent a message to the white nationalists who held the rally.

"Go home. You came here today to hurt people," McAuliffe said. "We are stronger than you...There is no place for you in America."

Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones said at the conference that 14 people were treated for injuries, "ranging from life-threatening to mild." 

Speaking at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, President Donald Trump spoke about the violence at a previously scheduled press conference about veterans' healthcare and said we have to "heal the wounds of our country."

He drew bipartisan criticism for not denouncing white nationalists and Nazis by name. A startling criticism came from conservative Set. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, who invoked the memory of his brother who was killed in World War II.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump said. "No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. No child should ever be afraid to go outside and play."

The president said he had a conversation with McAuliffe  and would provide any federal support needed to help the state.

"Hate and division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection for each other," Trump said. "We have so many great things going on in our country, when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad."

Despite mentioning several things he said were going in the right direction, like unemployment and job creation, Trump said it's important to find out why violence continues.

"No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all American first. We love our country, we love our God, we love our flag, we're proud of our country, we're proud of who we are," Trump said. "So we want to the get this situation straightened out and we want to study it and we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen."

Trump did not take questions following his remarks.

Earlier Saturday, an altercation broke out during the "Unite the Right" rally. The injuries at that incident were described as serious, but non-life-threatening.

Police declared the outbreak of violence represented an unlawful assembly and told the crowds to disperse. McAuliffe called the violence "unacceptable" and declared a state of emergency and the National Guard aided in policing the event.

Thousands of people, some waving Confederate flags and displaying swastikas, took part in the protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Video shows Shieldcar ramming into the back of another car, causing a pile-up and sending people over the top of the vehicle in front of it. The car then rapidly sped away in reverse as several people lay on the ground injured. The car had an Ohio license plate and the driver was promptly arrested.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the rally as "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades."

The city has become ground zero for white nationalist and other protesters, who faced larger counter-rallies in the past. About 1,000 law enforcement officers and first responders flooded the event.

First lady Melania Trump tweeted "let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence." President Donald Trump tweeted "There is no place for this kind of violence in America."

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