GAINESVILLE, Fla. >> A man who fired a shot at anti-Nazi protesters following a speech at the University of Florida by a white nationalist has been charged with attempted murder, police in Gainesville said today. Two men who allegedly urged him to shoot face the same charge.
A Gainesville Police Department report released on Friday said that Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Fears, 30; and his brother, 28-year-old Colton Fears, all from Texas, were arrested on attempted homicide charges following an appearance on campus by white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Hours before the shooting, all three men had spoken with the media in support of Spencer’s speech and white nationalism.
The three were in a vehicle Thursday immediately after Spencer’s speech and began making Nazi salutes and shouting Hitler chants at a group of people holding anti-Nazi signs near a bus stop, Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias said.
One person in the group of about six people struck the back window of the men’s vehicle with a baton, police said.
Tenbrink, a convicted felon, showed a handgun after exiting the car while the Fears brothers encouraged him to shoot, police said.
“Colton Fears and William Fears were also yelling, ‘Kill them’ and ‘Shoot them,’” the police report stated.
Tenbrink fired a single shot, police said, missing the group and striking a nearby building. He is also being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.
The men fled the scene and headed north on Highway 75, police said.
Just before 9 p.m. an off-duty Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy who had worked the Spencer event earlier saw the men’s vehicle. A group of officers called in stopped the vehicle and took the men into custody.
Tenbrink admitted that he was the shooter, according to the police report.
Police say two of the three have connections to “extremist groups.”