Helicopter crashes near site of white nationalist rally, killing 2

Berke M. M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen

Berke M. M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen

The police helicopter involved in a fatal crash near the chaotic events of Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend had previous mechanical problems that led to an extremely hard landing seven years ago, according to records from the National Transportation Safety Board. Both troopers onboard, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Berke M.M. Bates, one day shy of his 41st birthday, were killed.

The violence and unrest by white nationalists was sparked by the planned removal of a confederate statue of Robert E. Lee in that community, similar to the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis.

It came after a white nationalist rally rocked Charlottesville and a auto drove into a crowd of anti-fascist counter protesters. Among the chants: "You're wearing the wrong hood", a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

A few people approached, crossing the line of TV cameras. A woman tackled him.

By midday local authorities had reported one arrest. They sang "Amazing Grace" and prayed around piles of flowers that mark the spot where Heyer was killed.

"That's why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back and that's what we've got to do". She says the driver "barreled down", and she could hear the wheels as he accelerated.

A GoFundMe campaign set up in Ms Heyer's memory raised $225,000 (£173,000) over the weekend.

President Donald Trump tweeted of the dead officers, "Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today".

On Sunday, he reiterated that the angry political rhetoric needs to stop.

Trump, as a presidential candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists.

"She said to us many times like 'I want to go so bad, but I just don't want to die".

The governor says protesters were "emboldened to walk around our streets with weapons and to spew hatred".

Heather Heyer
Heather Heyer

In Cartagena, Colombia, Pence responded to a reporter's question about the violence in Charlottesville and said, in part: "We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists or neo-Nazis or the KKK".

Posting on Twitter, the group said it had handed out the shields "to anyone in attendance who wanted them", and denied Fields was a member.

Trump, who is on a working vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, said the hatred that erupted Saturday has existed in America for "a long, long time". He believed his group's first amendment rights were suppressed because they were not allowed to rally Saturday morning. Hundreds of other people came out to protest against the racism. That's why it is on all of us to stand up to these reprehensible acts and speak out against white supremacy. Intentionally crashed into the crowd.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said US Attorney Rick Mountcastle is leading the investigation.

Authorities say 32-year-old Heather Heyer died after a 20-year-old OH man plowed a vehicle through a group of people. He could also face federal charges, depending on the outcome of the FBI's investigation.

He made the comments in an interview Sunday with NBC's "Meet the Press".

Many people spoke out against the violence, as well as the Nazi and Confederate flags and white supremacist speeches that dominated the Virginia rally.

President Donald Trump condemned the violence on "many sides", a comment that is drawing strong criticism from those who believe he should have singled out white nationalists for condemnation and referred to the auto ramming attack as domestic terrorism.

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

A Nevada college student who was photographed marching in Virginia before a deadly white supremacist rally says he's not an "angry racist".

Mayor Michael Signer on Saturday bemoaned the "very sad and regrettable coarseness in our politics".

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