Late last month, Ryan M. Kelly, a photographer for the Charlottesville, Va., Daily Progress, gave his two-week notice, announcing he would be leaving the newspaper for a job at a brewery in Richmond.
“Bittersweet news, gang,” Kelly wrote. “After four years as a photojournalist for The Daily Progress, my last day will be August 12.”
That was Saturday, when violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Kelly was there on assignment and captured what was perhaps the iconic image of the chaos: the moment when a car slammed into a group of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, and leaving several others injured.
Kelly’s photo shows several victims in mid-air as the car, a Dodge Charger, slams into the crowd — and shoes detached from people’s feet as they tried to flee.
The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count related to leaving the scene.
Kelly also captured photos of the vehicle seconds before it plowed into the crowd.
In a related incident, two Virginia state troopers were killed when a police helicopter crashed into woods near the rally.
On Twitter, Kelly said he had been inundated with messages but that he was “safe” — and “sad.”
I’m having trouble keeping up with messages from everywhere so I apologize if you don’t hear from me, but I am safe, and I am sad
— Ryan M. Kelly (@RyanMKellyPhoto) August 12, 2017
In his job change announcement, Kelly said he would miss Charlottesville and his co-workers at the paper.
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“I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Charlottesville in my relatively short time here,” he wrote. “I’ll miss everybody in the newsroom, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in my time here. The hardest part of this decision was deciding to give up telling stories from around my…