The Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into the violence in Charlottesville, Va. where a white nationalist is facing a murder charge for driving into a crowd and killing a 32-year-old woman.
The FBI confirmed Sunday it had opened up a civil rights investigation into Saturday's events in Charlottesville. A white supremacist rally scheduled for noon Saturday devolved into violence between the rally attendees and leftist counter-protesters, leading to the rally being canceled.
The leftist protesters were celebrating that decision when 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his Dodge Charger into a crowd. He collided with two other vehicles that were stopped in the crowded streets and the collision injured 19 and killed one woman.
"The Richmond FBI Field Office, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia have opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident that occurred earlier Saturday morning," the U.S. Attorney's Office statement read.
"The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and as this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time."
Fields faces state charges of one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit and run attended failure to stop with injury. The federal investigation could lead to additional charges.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for the DOJ to open a civil rights investigation into the incident late Saturday night.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said late Saturday night he had opened up the investigation.
"The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice," Sessions said, according to Politico. "When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated. I have talked with FBI Director Chris Wray, FBI agents on the scene, and law enforcement officials for the state of Virginia. The FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day. U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the Department of Justice. Justice will prevail."