Virginia state police said one of their agency's helicopters crashed Saturday outside Charlottesville, killing two troopers.
A helicopter crash that killed the pilot and a passenger later in the afternoon outside Charlottesville also was linked to the rally by State Police, though officials did not elaborate on how the crash was connected. At least two people were treated for serious but non-life-threatening emergencies from altercations by 10:30 a.m. Counter-protesters flooded the area to square off with the group of alt-right activists and white supremacists. It is thought the auto was involved in the incident that some said injured over a dozen, although officials have yet to confirm that number.
State police tweeted that some in the crowd were using pepper spray.
President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia and contended that the "hatred and bigotry" broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy. "There are not 'many sides" here, just right and wrong.' - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Twitter.
Witnesses said that it appeared that the driver intentionally struck a number of people gathered at Water Street East and 4th Street SE, although it remained unclear as of press time whether those injured included any white supremacists or possibly unaffiliated observers.
"The visibility of racists really disturbs me, and the openness of the hate is a problem", Mark Goble said. A White House spokesperson later doubled down on the equivocation, saying that the president condemned "violence, hatred and bigotry from all sources and sides".
"By making the statement that we agree to disagree, that we will find a resolution for the good of the country, this goes back through our nation's history", she said.
Trump later tweeted: "We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for".
"We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville to me it's very, very sad". Mimi Arbeit, an organizer of the counter-protests, however, rejected Kessler's claim that the rally was about freedom of speech.
Fistfights and screaming matches erupted Saturday, barely 12 hours after a scuffle Friday night at the nearby University of Virginia between torch-bearing demonstrators and counterprotesters. We love our country.
It follows last month's Ku Klux Klan rally in the town that drew about 50 Klan members and about 1,000 counter-protesters.
The founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that considers itself a part of the alt-right, celebrated the fact that Trump "outright refused to disavow" the white nationalist rally and movement.
First Lady Melania Trump called for people to "communicate (without) hate in our hearts". Lets come together as one!
Trump said he spoke to Virginia Governor Terry Mcauliffe.
For many Americans, they are outdated symbols of racism and slavery, and have been mobilizing to have them taken down from public places.
Blackburn said she had not talked with President Donald Trump or his team, but was sure he was monitoring the situation.