3 men made Nazi salutes, shot at protesters after Richard Spencer event

Police on Friday captured three Texas men who were purportedly engaged with a shooting that broke out directly after white patriot Richard Spencer's discourse at the University of Florida.

William Henry Fears, 30, of Pasadena, Texas; Colton Gene Fears, 28, also of Pasadena; and Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond, Texas, were charged with attempted homicide. Police said at least two of the three Texas men have connections to right-wing extremist groups.

Tenbrink also was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The three men accosted a group of protesters outside Spencer's speech and shouted chants about Hitler and gave Nazi salutes, according to a release from the Gainsville Police Department.

The gunshot narrowly missed the group of six to eight protesters, striking a business behind them, police said.

But one of the victims was able to get a license plate number and reported the shooting to law enforcement.

An off-duty Alachua County Sheriff's deputy spotted the men's Jeep when he stopped during his drive home to continue the search.

The men fled the scene and headed north on Highway 75, police said.

The three men remain in the Alachua County Jail, the Fears brothers on a $1 million bond and Tenbrink on a $3 million bond.

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Tenbrink allegedly fired at the group of protesters, police said.

The office said in a tweet that he had brought a gun onto the campus after being hired by a media organisation as security.

Leading up to the start of the event, audience members at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts began to boo before Spencer even took the stage.

Spencer berated the audience for believing in free speech but not letting him speak.

Florida's governor declared a state of emergency for the event. "We don't want your Nazi hate!"

A man then hit the Jeep's back window with a baton and the auto abruptly stopped. There were a few scuffles on campus that left five people with minor injuries, the university said in a statement.

Outside, hundreds more people protested with signs and anti-Nazi chants alongside hundreds of police officers there to prevent violence.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlotesville on 12 August 2017, when another white supremacist rammed a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians protesting against the "Unite the Right" rally, yet another violent Spencer-backed event.

  • Megan Austin