(MEREDITH) – Two state troopers are dead after a Virginia State Police chopper crashed into a wooded area outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of a deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters.
According to the Associated Press, officials say the deaths are linked to the violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day. How the chopper crash, and the resulting fatalities, are linked was not immediately clear.
Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitoring the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
They identified the troopers killed in the crash as Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton.
The incident happened just after 5 p.m. EST near a golf course just east of town.
The Virginia State Police confirmed the crash and fatalities on their Facebook page and said the two people killed were in the helicopter. Authorities say no one on the ground was injured.
Witnesses reportedly told local media that the chopper was seen flying low over homes in the area before going down in the area of golf course.
A large police force was in the area as the result of violent white supremacists rally and counter-protest on Saturday. It was in the wake of this violence that a car slammed into a street crowded with people, killing 1 person and injuring 19 others.