Pulitzer winner captured Charlottesville tragedy on last day
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A photographer who captured the moment a car struck several people protesting against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on his last day of work for a Virginia newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography Monday.
Working for The Daily Progress, Ryan Kelly captured the moment a car struck several people last August. One woman, Heather Heyer, 32, died and 19 people were injured.
Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy said during Monday’s announcement in New York that Kelly captured a “chilling image that reflected the photographer’s reflexes and concentration.”
Kelly learned he won journalism’s most prestigious prize on a plane right after it landed. Minutes later, he texted The Associated Press that he was “shocked and amazed.”
“This is an incredible honor, the Pulitzer awards have always meant so much to me,” he wrote. “I’m so proud of the work we all did at The Daily Progress, but mostly I’m still heartbroken for Heather Heyer’s family and everybody else who was affected by that tragic violence.”
Kelly was working on his last day as a full-time photographer for The Daily Progress when violence overtook the usually quiet college town.
The “Unite the Right” rally had drawn hundreds of white nationalist from around the country and descended into chaos with brawling between attendees and counterdemonstrators. Authorities say that 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his speeding car into a group of counter protesters. He was charged with first-degree murder.
Two days later, Kelly started his new job at a brewery in Richmond, Ardent Craft Ales, where he serves as digital and social media coordinator. He continues to work as a freelance photographer.