Texas men who chanted 'Heil Hitler' charged in shooting after Spencer speech

Lucy Bush
October 21, 2017

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.

Police have said that at least two of these men have connections to extremist groups and that Tyler Tenbrink is a convicted felon. He is also being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.

Around 5:50 p.m., the men pulled up in a silver Jeep next to a small group of people sitting on a bus bench, according to Alachua County deputies.

One of the victims hit the back of their auto with a baton, and the vehicle pulled away and drove about ten feet before stopping; Tenbrink then got out of the auto with a handgun, while the Fears brothers encouraged him to kill the victims. Tenbrink fired a single shot, which missed the group and struck a nearby building.

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The three suspects were later caught after the victim had memorized their Jeep's license plate and alerted authorities. The Jeep was stopped on Interstate 75 North and the men were arrested about 20 miles outside of Gainesville late Thursday night. William Fears was featured in a Washington Post article about white supremacists, while his brother's now-deleted Twitter account included racist comments. Tenbrink described himself as a white nationalist and said he was interested in "preserving our heritage and the American way of life".

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.

UF cited the Charlottesville violence in rejecting an initial request from Spencer to speak at the university, but later relented on free speech grounds.

On Monday, Florida's governor declared a state of emergency to provide resources to law enforcement, and an extensive police presence was on campus for the event.

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As the man walked through the crowd, he was quickly surrounded by protesters and chanting.

A man then hit the Jeep's back window with a baton and the auto abruptly stopped.

The school estimated it would spend $600 000 on security to ensure no repeat of violent clashes connected to a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead in August. However, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority.

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