Protesters taking to the streets today to counter a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia today, were met with a horrific, violent response amid the chanting and marching—someone driving their Dodge Challenger through a large crowd of protesters, killing at least one and injuring 19 others. The driver has reportedly been detained, reports the Washington Post.
Charlottesville has been the scene of recent unrest as neo-Nazis and white nationalists have clashed with counter-protesters over the last few days. While fistfights and pepper spraying reportedly occurred elsewhere, this was by far the most extreme and horrifying example of violence so far. The Dodge Challenger reportedly sped down a "narrow side street lined with walking protesters," leaving little room for people to get out of the way.
Warning: The videos below show the incident raw and unedited. There is strong language, and the scenes are graphic:
The above video shows the moments leading up to the accident. Protesters chant "Who's streets?" which is followed by a determined response of "Our streets," but both are soon outweighed by the cries and screams of onlookers as the gray Challenger speeds down the street directly into the crowd. The distinct, sickening thumps of the car hitting bodies can be heard.
Another angle seen below shows the Challenger eventually impacting two other cars at the end of the street, before reversing back up the narrow lane as people are torn between helping the wounded and chasing after the perpetrator.
Still another video shows the Challenger accelerating and gaining a great deal of speed before hitting the crowd. As the driver reverses back up the hill, you can see the car has suffered heavy front end damage. Someone from the crowd screams for a medic.
Protesters helped to pull people out of the cars that were hit by Challenger and care for the injured (Good Samaritans are something we have been seeing a number of lately). A video posted on Twitter shows some of the catastrophic aftermath.
Not long after, the driver of the car was arrested and the car was recovered by authorities, who were no doubt aided by the countless videos and images captured by witnesses. Reports from individuals close by say that the driver was scared because the vehicle was being hit by violent protesters, however images surfacing from other Twitter posts refute that claim. Police are asking any individuals who may have photos or videos of the event to share it with them.
So far, 20 people were brought to UVA Medical Center who were injured from this event, reports the Washington Post, and one of those individuals has passed away as a result of their injuries. The Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency earlier today, saying that he was "disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence” that was caused by "mostly out-of-state protesters."
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.