Three supporters of white supremacist Richard Spencer have been arrested for the attempted murder of protesters near a Thursday event in Gainesville, Florida, city police announced in a statement. Colton Fears, William Fears, and Tyler Tenbrink were apprehended at 9 p.m. Thursday; William Fears is 30 years old and the others are 28. All three are residents of Texas. From the Gainesville PD statement:
Shortly before 5:30pm, it was reported that a silver Jeep stopped to argue with a group of protesters and began threatening, offering Nazi salutes and shouting chants about Hitler to the group that was near the bus stop. During the altercation, Tenbrink produced a handgun while the Fears brothers encouraged him to shoot at the victims. Tenbrink fired a single shot at the group which thankfully missed the group and struck a nearby building.
Individual arrest reports say that one of the protesters involved in the altercation struck the Jeep with a baton before the shot was fired.
Spencer’s event on the University of Florida campus began at roughly 2:45 p.m. Spencer, who infamously celebrated Donald Trump’s election at a Washington “alt-right” event by giving a speech rife with references to Nazi slogans, also spoke at the Aug. 12 Charlottesville, Virginia, alt-right rally after which protester Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacist who is accused of intentionally running her over with a car.
In a coincidence, two of the men who were arrested spoke to the Gainesville Sun before the shooting. Said William Fears to the newspaper: “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. We want to show our teeth a little bit because, you know, we’re not to be taken lightly. We don’t want violence; we don’t want harm. But at the end of the day, we’re not opposed to defending ourselves.”