Cops: Men shouted "Heil Hitler" before firing shot after white nationalist speech

3 men arrested in shooting after white nationalist Richard Spencer speech at UF

3 men arrested in shooting after white nationalist Richard Spencer speech at UF

Three men who traveled from Texas for white nationalist Richard Spencer's Thursday speech at the University of Florida were charged with attempted homicide for allegedly opening fire on protesters, authorities said.

That meant a state of emergency being declared in Gainesville by Gov. Rick Scott, the influx of more than 1,000 law enforcement officers to watch over almost 2,500 demonstrators and a virtual suspension of normal campus life - not to mention the outsize attention Spencer craves.

Authorities said they then threatened the protesters with Nazi salutes, chanting slogans about Hitler, before one of them, 28-year-old Tyler Tenbrink, pulled out a gun and shot at the group.

The event was heavily protested but mostly went off without violence, until three men in a silver Jeep pulled up to a bus stop around 5:20 p.m. Thursday after Spencer had ended his speech. The victim of the shooting heard someone in a moving vehicle shout at a group of people, "Hail Hitler!" along with other hateful chants.

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Subsequently, Tenbrink fired one shot at the crowd and missed, hitting a business behind the victims and the three men got back into their vehicle and left the scene. The vehicle drove away, then stopped abruptly, and Tenbrink and the Fears brothers stepped out, shouting, "I'm going to fucking kill you", and "Shoot them".

Tobias said law enforcement agencies are still investigating the case, and he did not know if race was a factor in the shooting.

Tenbrink told reporters on camera that he admired Spencer - who speaks in favor of creating a white "ethno state" - because he was "not afraid to say the things that no one else will". Police reports state that one of the victims took down the license plate number of the Jeep. Tenbrink was also charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon, stemming from an arrest in 2009 for aggravated kidnapping of a female acquaintance in Texas.

'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. "He's trying to make it, normalize the idea for white people to have an identity, to advocate for their own interests and to advocate for our own existence", Fears said. The investigation remains ongoing, Tobias said.

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