White nationalist turns himself in on Charlottesville charges

Christopher Cantwell (Photo: University of Virginia police)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/WAVY) — A white nationalist who says he pepper-sprayed a demonstrator in self-defense on the campus of the University of Virginia turned himself in Wednesday night.

Campus police issued a statement late Wednesday saying Christopher Cantwell of Keene, New Hampshire, was taken into custody at the police department in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Cantwell was wanted on three felony charges: Two counts of the illegal use of tear gas or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury with a “caustic substance,” explosive or fire. He appeared before a judge Thursday morning in the Albemarle County General District Court.

Contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press, Cantwell acknowledged he had pepper-sprayed a counter demonstrator during an Aug. 11 protest, a day before a deadly demonstration in Charlottesville. He insisted he was defending himself, saying he did it “because my only other option was knocking out his teeth.” He said he looked forward to his day in court.

Cantwell was denied bond Thursday and will remain in custody at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He’s set to appear in court again on Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m. in the Albemarle County General District Court.