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White supremacist supporters of Richard Spencer open fire on counter-protesters

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Following Richard Spencer’s Thursday talk at the University of Florida, a trio of Spencer’s supporters opened fire just outside Gainesville, Fla., during an altercation with those opposing Spencer’s presence.

According to a statement from the Gainesville Police Department, Tyler Tenbrink, William Fears, and Colton Fears – all from Texas – were arrested and charged with attempted homicide. The 28-year-old Tenbrink, encouraged by the Fears brothers, fired into the crowd during an altercation following Spencer’s speech. The bullet missed the counter-protesters and struck a nearby building.

While Tenbrink and William Fears, 30, both have criminal records – the former is a convicted felon, while the latter had previously been convicted of aggravated kidnapping and criminal trespass – both, as Gainesville police said, “have shown connections to extremist groups,” a fact highlighted by both the Anti-Defamation League and ADL researcher Mark Pitcavage.

William Fears was particularly outspoken in his white supremacist views, and, following his appearance in Charlottesville, was the subject of a Washington Post feature story on white nationalists. Fears – who is cited as one of “Houston’s most outspoken Neo-Nazis,” and who had attended prior Richard Spencer events – said he was a relatively recent convert to the alt-right, having gone public with his white nationalist views only over the past year. He said that he discovered his racist leanings while imprisoned, adding, “I don’t think any race experiences racism in the modern world the way that white people do in a jail.”

According to an Austin-based journalist, William Fears had previously marched with members of “White Lives Matter” in Texas. The Houston-based group saw its supporters bring heavy weaponry to a 2016 protest in Houston that was recently revealed as organized by Russian operatives, although it remains unclear if William Fears also attended that protest.

Tenbrink, who joined William Fears in Charlottesville, also maintained a public track record of white supremacy. A 2016 post from the ADL noted that Tenbrink was an “active member” of “White Lives Matter,” and had previously protested both the ADL and NAACP.

While Colton Fears, 28, doesn’t appear to have as much of a record of white nationalism, a Twitter feed for “Colton fears,” recently taken down, remains available via Google Cache. Amidst racist screeds and praise for Ann Coulter, “Colton fears” also condemned President Donald Trump as a “cuck.”

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