An Austin man was fatally shot over the weekend in what several outlets and witnesses are characterizing as an unintentional confrontation. According to the The New York Times, the victim, armed with an AK-47 rifle, was at a Black Lives Matter protest when a vehicle aggressively entered a crowd of protesters.
Witnesses note that Garrett Foster, who was attending the march with his Black fiancée, a quadruple amputee, approached the car and the driver of the vehicle opened fire. Foster was shot three times and rushed to the hospital. He was later pronounced dead. His fiancée was not harmed.
Relatives of the military veteran say that Foster and his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, could often be found at protests that were reignited in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The relatives insist that the caretaker for Mitchell was not looking for trouble on Saturday night. He simply wanted to exercise his rights.
“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,” Foster’s mother, Sheila Foster, told Good Morning America. She confirmed that her son has a license to carry and was not surprised that he was armed at the demonstration because he felt the need to protect himself.
The driver of the vehicle who fatally shot Foster called 911 after shooting. He claims Foster pointed his weapon directly at him and he, in return, fired at him. The driver, along with another shooter who fired his weapon as the vehicle escaped, was released from police custody following a preliminary detainment and questioning.
In a tweet, Austin Mayor Steve Adler expressed sadness over the incident, saying, “In a split moment, three guns were drawn, eight shots were fired and a protester was tragically killed. This is horrible, as is all gun violence. There are too many guns. Our city is shaken and like so many in our community, I’m heartbroken and stunned.”
An investigation into the case of Garrett Foster’s death is ongoing.