Tyler Tenbrink talks with reporters near the Phillips Center prior to Richard Spencer’s speech. (Michael Stone/WUFT News)
Home / Public safety / Gainesville Police Arrest Three In Shooting Following Alt-right Speech

Gainesville Police Arrest Three In Shooting Following Alt-right Speech

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Three white men, two of whom have shown “connections to extremist groups,” face charges of attempted homicide following a shooting in Gainesville on Thursday evening.

Richard Spencer had come to the University of Florida for a speaking engagement, and was immediately drowned out by hundreds of protesters inside the Phillips Center and outside the venue. At least two of the men were among the first sympathizers of the alt-right to show up, immediately interviewed by press waiting for the event to begin.

After the event, about 5:30 p.m., the three men – 28-year-old Tyler Tenbrink of Richmond, Texas; 30-year-old William Fears and 28-year-old Colton Fears of Passadena, Texas – drove in a silver Jeep when they approached a group of protesters, according to Gainesville Police.

Colton Fears, William Fears and Tyler Tenbrink

The protesters were sitting at a bus stop on Southwest Archer Road when the men approached, and one of the passengers yelled”Hail Hitler” and other chants at them. One of the protesters then used a baton to smash the rear window of the vehicle. After the vehicle backed up about ten feet, Tenbrink exited with a handgun and fired, his single shot hitting a building nearby. His friends urged him on, telling Tenbrink to “kill them, shoot them.”

One of the protesters memorized the vehicle’s tag number and reported it to law enforcement. Due to Spencer’s appearance at the University of Florida’s campus, officers from across the state had been mobilized in Gainesville. According to a GPD press release issued Friday morning, “law enforcement resources from the local, state and Federal level were still operating in Unified Command, which allowed local investigators and FBI analysts to quickly identify the vehicle and possible occupants.”

The men were arrested at about 9 p.m., spotted by an Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy about 20 miles north of Gainesville. Units from the Alachua Police Department, High Springs Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol conducted a “high-risk felony stop” on the Jeep at the 405 mile marker of Interstate 75 North.

Tenbrink face additional charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Colton Fears, who gave reporters his name as Sam Hyde, had been wearing a green Nazi-era skull pin before the protests began, swearing he did it to “troll” liberals. He added that he wasn’t racist because he has a “Mexican girlfriend.”

“This incident and how quickly it was handled displays the true teamwork that went into yesterdays Unified Command Center activation,” said Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. “Information was quickly gathered and disseminated to all law enforcement partners involved and a potentially dangerous situation was averted quickly with the arrests.”

The men remain in the Alachua County Jail as of press time. The Fears brothers remain in lieu of a $1 million bond, and Tenbrink on a $3 million bond.

About Martin Vassolo

Martin is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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  • Lurker

    So the three men were attacked by antifa and discharged their firearm in an act of self-defense. We need to rally to the defense of the #GainesvilleThree!

    • Davey

      No comrade, three filthy, lowdown racists were arrested for attempted murder.

      • Jesse Freeman

        I love how fast everyone jumps to defend nazis and call for supporting our troops. Seems a little counterproductive to me.

    • Chris Reinholt

      While they were attacked, leaving the scene and coming back makes it not self defense. So it’s illegal retard on retard violence either way. Stay the hell away from Spencer rallies. They’re for shills, dupes and thugs

    • John Maxwell

      LMAO !! OK there ” sparky”,, you and ” resin head ” should put up the bail money for these FAS victims

    • Instrutor Sam Urai Ficag

      There are cameras at just about every intersection in Gainesville. I am sure the truth of the matter will surface. Best to just wait for the evidence.

  • Resin Head

    Sounds like the 3 were attacked from the article…

    “One of the protesters then used a baton to smash the rear window of the vehicle. After the vehicle backed up about ten feet, Tenbrink exited with a handgun and fired, his single shot hitting a building nearby.”

    • Davey

      Try loosening your hood a bit, it seems to be cutting off circulation to your brain.

      • Resin Head

        Sorry Snowflake…Thank goodness those peaceful protesters had a baton with them to protect them from those bad words. Both sides were at fault. They all should of been arrested.

        • Jesse Freeman

          Did the vehicle press charges?
          “Kill them, shoot them,” sure sounds like self defense to me.

        • Jesse Freeman

          I guess it’s standard in self defense to flee the scene after such an act of bravery. Too many resins to your head, bud.

        • Davey

          Snowflake.? Lol. You hood wearing fools haven’t stopped whining since Trump got elected. haha.

        • John Maxwell

          LOL !!! I guess the idiots should have kept their stupid pie holes shut in the first place ! Those peaceful supremacists had a gun to protect them ! AND,, the guy who actually fired the shot was a known felon !! Shows you what kind of idiots the white supremacist sub culture attracts ! ( they all have classic features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

      • hopeforthefuture

        Actually Resin head is right. sounds like the protestors caused the first hit… words don’t matter.. sticks and stones. but the first who shows actual violence is the aggressor. of course the guy was a felon who illegally had a gun so all bets are off on this one. go directly back to jail… idiots all of them the protestors that can’t even handle a jerk. Just don’t go or listen .. everyone does have a right to free speech. just don’t listen. this protesting our first constitutional right is ridiculous.. grow up everyone… get a grip.. Let them all talk .. just don’t get violent otherwise you are the aggressor, not the talker..

      • hopeforthefuture

        looking at these three guys I may wonder if there was some inbreeding in this bunch… Don’t look to sane .. look at the eyes. not much there…Why do most of these idiots have that same stare..

    • Jesse Freeman

      I’ll keep going. Why would you back up and exit the vehicle if someone was attacking you? They had means to leave with a broken window and call the police, yet they decided to try to murder some people who disagree with white supremacy. Anxiously waiting your defense.

      • Huginn Muninn

        Best defense is an offense.

        • John Maxwell

          This isn’t a football game !

          • Davey

            The law doesn’t accept cliches as a defense either lol.

    • John Maxwell

      Sounds like, the three supremacists stopped at the bus stop and started shouting HAIL HITLER and taunting the protesters before they got their back window smashed out ! That’s a good reason to attempt to murder someone I guess ? Go sniff some more chemicals there, “resin head”

  • Variables

    The crowd with the baton was looking for trouble and found it. Lucky they were not killed for attacking the people in the jeep.

    • Dber

      Nope and now they get to play the victim card. Filthy communists.

    • John Maxwell

      The “crowd with the baton” were sitting at a bus stop moron ! The “hunters” with the gun ( you know,, the known FELON) were the ones looking for trouble,,and,, they found it ! Looks good on the assholes ! attempted murder charges ! What did they expect? They should have went straight home after the ” speech” and kept their stupid pie holes shut !

  • Devin Starling

    I had to make an account to come on here to inform the stupid of how stupid they were. You break someone’s window expect a not pleasant retaliation. You follow the teachings of and mass murdering madman expect some opposition to just about anything you do.

    • John Maxwell

      You wasted your time making the account. Broken window,,equals,,,attempted murder? Those 3 FAS victims should have just drove by,, but , no,m they just had to stop and open their pie holes to shout Hail Hitler,,and other racist shit ! SO,, now, they get an attempted murder charge ! Sorry,, can’t make it the victims fault this time ! Nobody is falling for that crap any more !

  • John Maxwell

    There are a lot of white supremacists on here ! Your guys tried to shoot people after having their back window smashed for shouting racist remarks. They should have just went home after the “speech” instead of driving around looking for protesters to target ! But,,NO ! They just HAD to go “hunting”.They just couldn’t keep their stupid pie holes shut ! SO, the convicted felon ( who had the gun,,go figure) , and the other two FAS victims thought it was equal justice to try to shoot one of them over a broken windshield ! IF your blaming the protesters for their attempt to murder someone,, then you’re as stupid and racist as the other three Fetal Alcohol Syndrome victims !

  • hopeforthefuture

    Both sides need to get the hell out of this free speech issue. Let the assho– s talk and just don’t listen. easy. ignore them and they will stop.. … stop the protesting and let people have freedom of speech.. Getting violent when someone is using their power of free speech is the most communist thing to do. it is Nazism .. Don’t let the liberal party use our college kids anymore to silence people.. that is another thing Hitler did. and don’t let the Alt right use get under your skin to cause you to be the aggressor. they just want attention. they are also using Hitler tactics on race supremacy… the college kids should be smarter than letting themselves be used by others .. USE the brains you were born with. think for yourselves… Allow everyone to have an opinion even if it is wrong and use your head and not hatred to solve an argument or just walk away from ignorance, But stop being used for goodness sakes.. all college kids are now like little drones of the left, READ everything you can look and listen to both sides. there is something in the middle that will be the right answer..