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UPDATE: Three dead after Va. white supremacist rally

(AP) The Latest on incidents related to violent clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., that left three dead.

7:23 a.m.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will visit two Charlottesville churches and speak to congregants following violent clashes in the city between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters that left three dead.

The governor’s office says in a release that Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam will join McAuliffe at both Sunday services.

McAuliffe and Northam are scheduled to visit Mount Zion First African Baptist Church and Visit First Baptist Church.

Three were killed and dozens were injured amid what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade to protest the city’s decision to remove a Confederate monument. A car rammed into a crowd of protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, and a state police helicopter crashed into the woods, leaving two troopers onboard dead.

President Donald Trump criticized the violence and called for a return to law and order. But his critics say his racially-tinged rhetoric has exacerbated the nation’s political tensions and emboldened racists.

11:54 p.m.

Three more men have been arrested in connection to the violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville.

The Virginia State Police announced late Saturday that Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

Three people died during the violent day in Charlottesville.

A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of protesters. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder.

Two state police troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed in the woods on the outskirts of town.

11:10 p.m.

U.S. officials have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly car attack that took place amid clashes of white nationalists and counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The investigation was announced late Saturday by officials of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Richmond field office of the FBI.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has begun the investigation and will have the full support of the Justice Department.

Sessions says, “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice.”

He adds, “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

11 p.m.

A white nationalist blames police for the violence that erupted before and after a rally where he was scheduled to speak before it turned deadly.

Richard Spencer told The Associated Press on Saturday that he doesn’t take responsibility for the violence and accused state and local police of endangering lives in how they handled the rally.

Spencer said that he “did not attempt to engage in any kind of violence. So the idea that I could be held responsible is absurd. It’s like blaming the fire department for a fire.”

He said that he was pepper-sprayed twice during the day.

Spencer said he recommended that people should disperse after the state of emergency was declared.

Spencer also said he found President Donald Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville violence to be “rather vague and kind of lame.”

10:25 p.m.

A woman who identified herself as the mother of the man accused of driving his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters says he told her he was going to the rally.

Samantha Bloom, of Ohio, confirmed details about her son’s car and his trip to Virginia, saying she received a text from him last week that said he’d gotten some time off from work and was going to a rally.

She said her son hadn’t given her any details about the rally but that she told him “to be careful” and to peaceful.

Bloom became visibly upset as she learned that dozens of people were injured during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Bloom said she and Fields had just relocated to the Toledo area from Florence, Kentucky, a Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb

9:40 p.m.

Authorities say a 20-year-old Ohio man accused of driving a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

The Charlottesville Police Department said in a statement Saturday night that James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio also faces three counts of malicious wounding, and one count related to leaving the scene.

Col. Martin Kumer, superintendent of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said Fields was in custody there Saturday night. Kumer says he doesn’t believe Fields has obtained an attorney yet.

He says a bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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8:45 p.m.

Virginia state police said one of their agency’s helicopters crashed Saturday outside Charlottesville, killing two troopers.

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitoring the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Police said Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton were killed in the crash.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

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