Images circulating online show a University of Nevada, Reno student at the center of last night’s University of Virginia (UVA) demonstration in Charlottesville, Va.
Violence at the demonstrations is drawing international condemnation.
According to the L.A. Times, three are dead from the protests: one after a car rammed through a crowd of counter-protestors today, and two Virginia State troopers died in a helicopter crash. Brawls have broken out at the rallies, which are attended by so-called white nationalists who are protesting the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. That removal is being litigated.
President Donald Trump and republican and democratic leaders denounced the violence.
The student photographed at last night’s rally was identified on social media by a number of people who know him. He is Peter Cvjetanovic, a UNR student and former North Valleys High School student.
Cvjetanovic confirmed to ThisisReno that he was at UVA protest.
His Facebook profile shows him to be a member of the International Group of National Conservatives (Alt-Right), Croation World Network CROWN and The Preservation of Sagas, Eddas, And Nordic History. A Twitter account for @PCvjetanovic was deleted after there were numerous tags identifying Cvjetanovic in the photograph.
“I did delete my twitter,” Cvjetanovic said. “I did not use it very much and I did not want to bring others down.”
Noel Scheuerman, who said she went to high school with Cvjetanovic, posted this on Facebook:
“Seeing this man face made my stomach CHURN. When it comes to something like this, I will tag and post until it turns into WILDFIRE. the man on the white, is Peter Cvjetanovic and he is a student at the University of Nevada. He studies political science and is a Reno Native. He works on campus.”
Bailey Gamberg posted this statement on Twitter:
when the main dude in this photo is in most of your history classes and always spouts fascist and racist comments pic.twitter.com/PIH3uXbqaZ
— Bailey M. Gamberg (@bayymontana) August 12, 2017
The UNR College Republicans published a photograph with U.S. Senator Dean Heller that allegedly also shows Cvjetanovic.
“The College Republicans have nothing to do with my personal ideology, and they should not be accused or attacked in any way,” Cvjetanovic said.
He denounced the violence.
“I did not go there to commit acts of violence, and that was not the goal of the rally, and no one was meant to be killed,” he said. “I am sorry things turned out the way they did, and I give my condolences to the family of the victims, for whatever that’s worth. I hope the man responsible is punished to the full extent of the law, regardless of personal ideology.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe authorized a state of emergency declaration today at the request of the Virginia State Police.
“My administration engaged in extensive planning and preparation to ensure that they rally in Charlottesville could be held in a safe and lawful environment,” he said. “It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers and that the mostly out-of-state protesers have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property.
“I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state…”
CORRECTION: This article original reported that three died from the car plowing into a crowd. The manner of death was clarified.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor, and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time research appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.