Tyler Tenbrink, William Fears and Colton FearsEXPAND
Tyler Tenbrink, William Fears and Colton Fears
Courtesy of Gainesville Police Department

Houston-Area Trio Arrested After Shooting Near White Nationalist's Florida Rally

Police in Gainesville, Florida have arrested three Houston-area men in connection with a shooting that occurred after prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gave a speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

Gainesville police say each man has shown connections to extremist groups.

Tyler Tenbrink, 28, of Richmond; and two Pasadena brothers, 28-year-old Colton Fears and 30-year-old William Fears, face attempted homicide charges after police say they got into an argument with a group of people that then escalated into gunfire.

Police said shortly before 5:30 p.m., a silver Jeep stopped to argue with a group of protesters near a bus stop. The occupants of the Jeep made Nazi salutes and shouted chants about Adolf Hitler. Hours earlier, Spencer, who helped organize the August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman, gave a speech at the University of Florida.

During the argument, Tenbrink pulled out a handgun, police said, while the Fears brothers egged him on to shoot the protesters. Tenbrink fired a single shot, which missed the group and struck a nearby building. The trio then left the scene in the Keep.

An eagle-eyed witness remembered the Jeep's license plate number, which proved to be a big break for police. Just before 9 p.m., an officer spotted the Jeep heading north on Interstate 75. Police executed a traffic stop and arrested the three men.

They remain in Alachua County Jail — the Fears brothers on $1 million bond, and Tenbrink on an even heftier $3 million bond. Tenbrink is a convicted felon, police noted, and could face an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Tenbrink was also convicted of a misdemeanor theft charge in 2010, Harris County court records show.

William Fears was charged in Harris County last week with felony assault of a family member, after police said he choked his girlfriend. He also has a 2010 felony conviction for aggravated kidnapping in Smith County. Colton Fears has three prior convictions for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

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