Police Helicopter Crashes in Charlottesville

A Virginia State Police helicopter has crashed in Charlottesville at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Daily Progress and local journalists reported.

Although official sources have not confirmed details of the crash, locals told a Daily Progress reporter that the helicopter hovered low over nearby houses before crashing into the woods.

Authorities confirmed that the helicopter belonged to Virginia state. Police and medical units have arrived on the scene.

A video shows smoke rising over a golf field nearby.

The crash was reported at 43 Old Farm Road in Charlottesville.

(Google Maps)
(Google Maps)

RELATED:

Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One person was killed and 19 injured after a car plowed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville in early afternoon Saturday.

University of Virginia Medical Center spokeswoman Angela Taylor confirmed the death.

The mayor of Charlottesville, Mike Singer, said on Twitter that he is “furious & heartsick by the car crash” and “heartbroken that a life has been lost.”

Videos from the scene show a silver Dodge Charge with a license plate from Ohio accelerating rapidly into a crowd before slamming into a parked vehicle. The Dodge then reverses and drives away with the front of the car badly damaged.

Immediately after, several people could be seen on the ground with their injuries being attended to by bystanders.

The driver of the car is in custody, according to a state official, Fox News reported.

The crowds gathered in the town as nationalist protesters came to object to the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville.

Michael Nigro, a photojournalist from Brooklyn, told reporters shortly after the incident he heard the screech of tires and saw a gray Charger accelerate toward the group. Several hundred people were peacefully marching through downtown.

Nigro says it was “chaos and mayhem” as bodies flew.

It is not immediately clear if anyone was in custody.

The car that allegedly plowed through a crowd of protestors marching through a downtown shopping district is seen after the vehicle was stopped by police several blocks away August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The car that allegedly plowed through a crowd of protestors marching through a downtown shopping district is seen after the vehicle was stopped by police several blocks away August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump condemned the violence in a video message posted at 4:23 p.m.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said.

“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society,” he added.

He sent a message on Twitter earlier in the dat at 1:19 p.m. saying, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and numerous politicians posted messages condemning the violence.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately afterward the incident.

The incident occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between nationalists and counter-protesters.

Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevill. (Getty Images)

The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

The demonstrations began Friday in Charlottesville with nationalists marching through town and while carrying lit torches. The demonstrators then clashed with counter-protesters.

Prior Updates:

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1:35 p.m.

The organizer of a nationalist rally in Charlottesville is encouraging attendees to leave town after authorities declared an unlawful assembly and police ordered people to disperse.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler organized Saturday’s rally to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Kessler told The Associated Press Saturday that he and other people who were going to speak at the event evacuated with security when police issued the order to disperse.

He says he wants rally attendees to leave town peacefully.

Richard Spencer is a prominent alt-right activist who was scheduled to speak. He says he’s also encouraging people to go home.

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12:50 p.m.

First Lady Melania Trump is calling for peace after violent clashes broke out at a nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”

Hundreds of nationalists and counter protestors faced off Saturday in downtown Charlottesville, with several violent clashes erupting.

It’s the latest confrontation in the city since it voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

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12:35 p.m.

The NHL’s Detroit Red Wings released a statement denouncing the use of their logo at the nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and saying they are considering legal action to stop it.

The team says it “vehemently” disagrees with and is not associated with the event. The Red Wings add they are “exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.”

A Michigan-based nationalist group called the Detroit Right Wings uses the Red Wings’ logo. The organization posted on its Twitter account that members had arrived in Charlottesville.

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12:25 p.m.

Virginia’s governor has declared a state of emergency in response to a nationalist rally that is expected to draw up to 6,000 people.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said via his Twitter account on Saturday morning that the declaration was made in order “to aid state response to violence” at the rally in Charlottesville, about 100 miles outside of Washington, D.C.

It’s the latest confrontation in the city since it voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

The city’s manager also declared a local emergency and police ordered people to disperse from the area around the statue after several violent clashes broke out.

___

Hundreds of people are facing off in Charlottesville ahead of a nationalist rally planned in the Virginia city’s downtown.

Rally supporters and counter-protesters screamed, chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday morning.

Men dressed in militia uniforms were carrying shields and openly carrying long guns.

Thousands of people are expected to pack the area.

There were also fights Friday night, when hundreds of nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches.

A university spokesman said one person was arrested and several people were injured.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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