The man who drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters during a Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally on Saturday has been identified as 20-year-old James Alex Fields of Ohio, who is being held on a slew of charges after the attack left one person dead and 19 injured.
Fields, who is currently in custody at the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail, faces charges of second-degree murder, malicious wounding, and failure to stop in the deadly accident, CNN reported.
Tensions were already sky-high as early as 11:00 am ET, when the white nationalists behind the “Unite The Right” rally in Emancipation Park began to gather prior to their scheduled protest time. Their demonstration was sparked by the town’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but quickly attracted a slew of far-right individuals who wore combat armor and Nazi regalia.
The crowds of white nationalists were quickly met by a substantial number of leftist counter-protesters, including far-left Antifa members. A state of emergency was called as the two groups clashed throughout the morning, prompting police to shut down the rally, citing “unlawful assembly” as the reason.
Video from the scene of the crash shows leftist protesters making their way down a crowded street, where cars were attempting to drive through but were blocked by throngs of people. The silver vehicle allegedly driven by Fields could be seen plowing into the back of another car, sending it and another vehicle lurching into the crowd. He then backed up his car and fled the area.
“I was standing on the edge of the crowd and I saw the bodies fly,” said witness Kristin Leigh. “There was a car pummeling through us… bodies flying through the air.”
Fields was arrested just a few blocks away.
Of the 19 people injured in the crash, five were listed in critical condition, four in serious, six in fair, and four in good health. Another 15 people were wounded in brawls that broke out throughout the day, officials said.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe strongly denounced the “white supremacists and Nazis who came into Charlottesville today” during a Saturday night address.
“Our message is plain and simple: go home,” he said. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but patriots.”
President Donald Trump called for unity in the wake of the protests: “We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together,” he said.