Garrett Foster was killed by a suspect in a vehicle during last night’s peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Austin. Foster, a licensed gun carrier, was marching on Saturday, July 25 with his girlfriend Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, disability rights activist, and aspiring costume designer, when an unidentified man opened fire against the couple. The homicide took place one day before the 30th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act.
As Foster, who had served in the military, revealed earlier that night, he attended the march with an AK-47 to prove a point, exercising the only right authorities in Texas don’t seem too bothered by. “They don’t let us march in the streets anymore, so [we] got to practice some of our rights,” said Foster in a video filmed by another protester. When asked if he intended to use it, Foster said it wasn’t part of his plans. “If I use it against the cops I’m dead,” he said. “I think that all the people that hate [the BLM supporters] are too big of a p*ssy to stop and actually do anything about it.” Foster also revealed that after his roommate got arrested, he started to carry arms.
Initial reports indicated that Foster approached a man’s vehicle pointing with his rifle, an accusation that has been denied by witnesses at the scene. His fiancee’s mother revealed to BELatina that it was impossible that Foster was aiming at someone with his gun because they were marching and he was pushing his fiancee’s wheelchair the entire time. “A car drove through the protestors, and Garrett was pushing my daughter down the street,” she revealed. “The guy [in the car] opened fire on him.”
You can’t push a wheelchair and point at the same time,” she said to BELatina. “He did not threaten the car, which is being said. I talked to my daughter 10 minutes after it happened and there were so many witnesses there, and several videos,” she continued, adding that her daughter is “totally devastated” and that Foster “loved her dearly.”
“I just hate what is happening. A young life lost and a young life scarred forever,” she concluded.
“He was doing it because he feels really strongly about justice and he’s very heavily against police brutality, and he wanted to support his fiancée,” Garrett Foster’s mother, Sheila Foster, said in an interview with “Good Morning America.” “He does have a license to carry, and he would’ve felt the need to protect himself,” she said.
As reported by The New York Times, the police and witnesses confirmed that a man driving a car made an aggressive turn toward the marchers, and as soon as Foster approached him, the driver “opened fire, shooting Mr. Foster three times.” According to the publication, “another person in the crowd pulled out a handgun and shot at the vehicle as it sped away.”
“The driver intentionally and aggressively accelerated into a crowd of people,” said James Sasinowski to The New York Times. “We were not aggravating him at all. He incited the violence.”
“He was not aiming the gun or doing anything aggressive with the gun,” Michael Capochiano, another witness, said. “I’m not sure if there was much of an exchange of words. It wasn’t like there was any sort of verbal altercations. He wasn’t charging at the car.”
The suspect was detained and Austin senior Police Officer Katrina Ratcliff said there is no additional information and that it “was very early in an active investigation,” as reported by CNN.