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Helicopter crashes outside city where violent protests erupted, killing 2 state troopers

A Virginia State Police helicopter crashed Saturday in central Virginia, killing a pilot and passenger.

The crash claimed the lives of two state police troopers, involving the pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, police said.

Officials said the helicopter was linked to the white nationalist clashes in Charlottesville.

Authorities and witnesses said the crash involved a Virginia State Police helicopter in the woods, The Daily Progress reported. A reporter with The New York Times also confirmed it was a state police helicopter, citing the Federal Aviation Administration.

State police are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

The turbulence began Friday night when white nationalists carried torches though the city’s university campus in what they billed as a “pro-white” demonstration.

It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning. Hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays.

This is a developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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