CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (CNN/RNN) – A 32-year-old woman is dead and many are injured after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Saturday.
Officials now say the deaths of two people in a helicopter that crashed 7 miles southwest of the city have been linked to the rally, though the connection is not yet clear.
The pilot and a passenger were killed in the crash Saturday afternoon, said Corinne Geller, a Virginia State Police spokeswoman.
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 at a 6:30 p.m.ET press conference. “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.”
“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 to occur.
“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 are 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 are expected to take part in the protest against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Shortly following the violence, the area surrounding the statue was cleared by law enforcement.
A car crashed into a group of protesters. Video shows a car 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 drives away in reverse as several people lay on the ground injured. The car had an Ohio license plate and the driver was arrested.
I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will–go home.
— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017
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 faces larger counter-rallies in the past. About 1,000 law enforcement officers and first responders are keeping an eye on 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.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
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