'This Is War Downtown': Witnesses Say Car Crash at Virginia Rally Was Intentional - NBC Boston
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'This Is War Downtown': Witnesses Say Car Crash at Virginia Rally Was Intentional

A car plowed into counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

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    Footage shows a vehicle appear to drive into a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters had been ongoing on Aug. 12.

    (Published Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017)

    A car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday afternoon, killing one person and injuring dozens others, according to officials. 

    The car sped down the narrow street toward the protesters, slowed down as it approached the crowd of people, then accelerated again, according to witness Brennan Gillmore. 

    "And then it reversed back into the street, dragging bodies and clothes," Gillmore told NBC News. "It was very clearly intentional."

    The driver of the car is in custody, a state official told The Associated Press.

    Images: Violence Erupts at White Nationalist Rally in Va.Images: Violence Erupts at White Nationalist Rally in Va.

    The incident capped off a day of violence and chaos that began when white nationalists gathered for a rally, waving confederate flags and chanting Nazi slogans. Counter-protesters arrived, and violence broke out soon after. Police in riot gear tried to quell the crowd with tear gas and the governer declared a state of emergency.

    At about 1:45 p.m., a car turned towards a crowd counter-protesters and drove straight into it before driving off, according to witnesses. 

    "This is war downtown," Robert Grier tweeted just after the incident.

    Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted that one person died in the day's violence. A spokeswoman for the University of Virginia Hospital said it treated 20 patients from the incident, and one had died.

    The Charlottesville Police Department reported multiple injuries, but gave few details.

    "Charlottesville Police and Virginia State Police are on the scene of a three vehicle accident at Water and 4th Streets in Downtown Charlottesville," the Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement. "Multiple injuries are reported. People should clear the area to allow emergency medical personnel to respond. We will release more information as we are able."

    Warning: Some video in the below tweets is graphic.