City of Charlottesville releases statement on 3 deaths after violence at Va. rally

Charlottesville resident Elliot Harding lights a candle as he places flowers and a stuffed animal at a makeshift memorial for the victims after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally earlier in the day in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The city of Charlottesville is sending its "deepest condolences to the families and friends" of those who died in the events surrounding the white nationalist rally Saturday.

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of the Virginia State Police and Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer all died Saturday after the "Unite the Right" rally drew hundreds to Charlottesville and left over 30 people injured.

"Their loss is a loss for all of us and we mourn with you," the city's statement says.

Heyer was killed in what the city calls a "senseless act of violence" after a car drove through a group of people protesting the rally.

Lt. Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates died in a helicopter crash outside of the Charlottesville city limits on their way to assist with efforts during today's rally.

The full statement can be read here:

"The City of Charlottesville and Charlottesville City Council send our thoughts to the families of the three Virginia residents who lost their lives yesterday, August 12, 2017.

Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer was struck down by a vehicle while exercising her peaceful first-amendment right to speech. This senseless act of violence rips a hole in our collective hearts. While it will never make up for the loss of a member of our community, we will pursue charges against the driver of the vehicle that caused her death and are confident justice will prevail.

Virginia State Police Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates were working with the Charlottesville Police and their brothers and sisters in the Virginia State Police to help ensure the safety of the many city residents and visitors who were in Charlottesville yesterday. These men gave their lives in the line of duty and our gratitude to them cannot be overstated.

On behalf of the City of Charlottesville and all of our citizens, we send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Heyer, Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates. Their loss is a loss for all of us and we mourn with you."

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