The protesters were crossing Fourth Street on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin on Saturday night when a motorist sped toward the crowd and laid
On Sunday, Austin police said they had interviewed the driver, who had turned himself in after fleeing the scene. The man had a license for his handgun and claimed he fired after Foster pointed his weapon at the car. The police, who declined to identify the driver, released the man as they continue investigating.
Foster’s family on Sunday said he served in the military and described him as a man committed to social justice, who had peacefully protested almost every night over the past 50 days with his fiancee, an African American woman who is a quadruple amputee.
“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 fiancee,” Sheila Foster told “Good Morning America Weekend” on Sunday.
In Texas, where open carry is legal, it’s not uncommon to see armed protesters.
But Foster only recently began carrying a firearm to the protests against police brutality, where he accompanied his fiancee, Whitney Mitchell, who uses a wheelchair. In an interview earlier on Saturday with Hiram Gilberto Garcia, an independent journalist who was streaming the protest on Periscope, Foster said he started to bring the weapon after his roommate was arrested for protesting.
Garrett Foster was pushing Mitchell’s wheelchair on Saturday night when the driver turned into the crowd of protesters just before 10 p.m.
“His account is that Mr. Foster pointed the weapon directly at him and he fired his handgun at Mr. Garrett Foster,” Manley said of the driver.
But other witnesses told police that Foster didn’t threaten the driver with his weapon. Witnesses told the Austin American-Statesman Foster had his weapon pointed down.
Sheila Foster told “Good Morning America” the motorist shot her son three times before driving off. Noticing he was getting away, a witness pulled out a handgun and shot at the car as it drove away.
Officers also brought in the second gunman who shot at the car as it sped off. Both were released from police custody after giving their statements and officers seized the handguns as evidence. Manley also stated that they both had a license to carry.
Garrett Foster ’s sudden death has been especially traumatizing for Mitchell, her mother, Patricia Kirven, told the Dallas Morning News. The couple got engaged when they were 18, a month before an infection caused Mitchell to lose her arms and legs. Friends of Mitchell who witnessed the incident told Kirven that Foster had jumped in front of her, fearing she was a target.
“They thought the person was aiming at her because she is a sitting duck,” she said.
After Foster was shot, Mitchell called her mother frantically telling her he was shot.
“She physically is okay, but mentally she is not,” Kirven told the Morning News. “‘Inconsolable’ is the only word I can think of.”