By Gina Cherelus
(Reuters) – A Texan who shot at counter-protesters after a white nationalist rally at the University of Florida in 2017 has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, court records showed.
Tyler Tenbrink, 30, pleaded no contest to charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a felon during a hearing on Wednesday in Alachua County, Florida.
No one was hurt in the shooting, near the university’s campus in Gainesville after a speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist, drew hundreds of counter-protesters.
Ahead of Spencer’s speech, Tenbrink spoke with a Reuters journalist and described himself as a white nationalist who wanted to preserve “our heritage and the American way of life.”
According to Gainesville police, he and two other men later made Nazi salutes and threatened a group of counter-protesters before Tenbrink fired a shot from a handgun that hit a building. The three men fled in a pick-up truck before being arrested.
Tenbrink was originally charged with attempted homicide but later reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.
He was sentenced to 15 years for aggravated assault and firearm possession by Judge James Colaw.
Tenbrink said he would ask the Florida Department of Corrections if he could serve his sentence in Texas to be closer to his family, according to the Gainesville Sun newspaper.
A representative from the state attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Alistair Bell)