Three men have been arrested and charged with attempted murder after one of them shot at protesters outside a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida, police said Friday.
The Gainesville Police Department identified the men as Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Fears, 30; and his brother, 28-year-old Colton Fears. All three men are from Texas.
The three were in a vehicle Thursday immediately after Spencer's speech and began making Nazi salutes and shouting Hitler chants at a group of people holding anti-Nazi signs near a bus stop, Gainesville Police Officer Ben Tobias told the Associated Press.
One person in the group of about six people struck the back window of the men's vehicle with a baton, police said.
Tenbrink, a convicted felon, showed a handgun after exiting the car while the Fears brothers encouraged him to shoot, police said.
"Colton Fears and William Fears were also yelling, 'Kill them' and 'Shoot them,"' the police report stated.
Tenbrink fired a single shot, police said, missing the group and striking a nearby building. He is also being charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, police said.
The men fled the scene and headed north on Highway 75, police said.
Just before 9 p.m. an off-duty Alachua County Sheriff's deputy who had worked the Spencer event earlier saw the men's vehicle. A group of officers called in stopped the vehicle and took the men into custody.
Tenbrink admitted that he was the shooter, according to the police report.
Police say two of the three have connections to "extremist groups."
Hours before the shooting, all three men had spoken with the media in support of Spencer's speech and white nationalism.
"It’s always been socially acceptable to punch a Nazi, to attack people if they have right-wing political leanings," William Fears told the Gainesville Sun. "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."
"I’m disappointed in the course of things," Tenbrink told the paper. "It appears that the only answer left is violence, and nobody wants that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.