I have got the following text and I wonder whether both tenses might be possible: (the words in brackets are giving the second version)
A journalist is reporting from a disaster area. "One of the buildings was badly hit by last night's storm. Only one person was injured. He was (is) one of a group of four who had spent (spent) the evening at a pub. On their way home they were walking under a tree ...
Yes, either one would work in that context.