GAINESVILLE, FL (WCMH) – Three men were arrested on attempted homicide charges after prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer spoke at the University of Florida Thursday night.
According to the Gainesville Police Department, Tyler Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Texas, and bothers William Fears, 30, and Colton Fears, 28, both of Pasadena, Texas were arrested about 20 miles north of Gainesville in connection to a shooting after a speech by Richard Spencer at the University of Florida.
All three men face charges for attempted homicide.
Police say the three men stopped their vehicle to argue with a group of protesters after Spencer’s speech and began threatening, offering Nazi salutes and shouting “Heil Hitler.” When a protester struck their vehicle with a baton, the three men got out. Tenbrink drew a handgun.
According to the arrest report, the Fears brothers shouted “kill them” and “shoot them” at Tenbrink.
Tenbrink fired his weapon, missing the protester. The three men fled the scene in a silver Jeep. The protester was able to provide the license plate number to police, and officers put out an attempt to locate bulletin on the vehicle.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle about 20 miles north of Gainesville. Deputies conducted a traffic stop, during which they found a firearm. The protester who reported the shooting was brought to the location of the traffic stop and positively identified Tenbrink and the Fears brothers.
After officers read Tenbrink his Miranda rights, he admitted he was the shooter.
In an interview with the Gainesville Sun, William Fears said that the man who drove a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one woman, was justified and that white supremacists were defending themselves against leftists.
“It’s always been socially acceptable to punch a Nazi, to attack people if they have right-wing political leanings,” he said. “Us coming in and saying we’re taking over your town, we’re starting to push back, we’re starting to want to intimidate back.”
The Fears brothers are being held in the Alachua County Jail on a $1 million bond and Tenbrink is held on a $3 million bond. Tenbrink is also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Prior to Spencer’s event, Tenbrink told The Washington Post he came to Gainesville to show support for Spencer, who has advocated for a white ethno-state.