Austin, TX – A U.S. Army soldier who fatally shot a protester who pointed an AK-47 at him inside his vehicle last summer while protesters blocked the roadway was indicted on Thursday for murder almost a year after the incident.
The incident occurred as protesters were marching across Fourth Street on Congress Avenue just before 10 p.m. on July 25, 2020, The Washington Post reported.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said a vehicle turned onto the block and honked its horn at the protesters blocking the street, KTVT reported.
The driver of the vehicle was U.S. Army First Cavalry Division Sgt. Daniel Perry, who was working for Uber to make extra money that night, KWTX reported.
“When Sgt. Perry turned on the Congress Avenue, several people started beating on his vehicle. An individual carrying an assault rifle, now known to be Garrett Foster, quickly approached the car and then motioned with the assault rifle for Mr. Perry to lower his window,” the sergeant’s attorney, Clint Broden, said at the time of the incident.
Chief Manley said Perry and several witnesses told police that 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47-style rifle, approached the driver’s window of the vehicle and pointed the gun at the driver.
“Mr. Foster, who was holding an AK-47 type assault rifle, approached the driver side window, as other people in the crowd started to strike the vehicle,” Chief Manley said “Gunshots were fired from inside the vehicle at Mr. Foster.”
Broden said his client thought Foster was a law enforcement officer at first and that’s why he put his window down when the man banged on it, the Associated Press reported.
The defense attorney said that when Foster raised his AK-47 at Perry, the sergeant realized the man pointing the gun at him was not a police officer and shot him.
Broden said Perry feared for his life and was acting in self-defense when he fired his handgun at Foster and then drove away, the Associated Press reported.
Cell phone video of the incident showed a mob of protesters swarming car just before shots rang out.
A moment later, there was another round of shots.
Another armed protester opened fire on Perry’s vehicle as he fled the area, KEYE reported.
Police said the Perry called 911 and reported the shooting immediately, KTVT reported.
Chief Manley said Perry admitted to shooting Foster but said he only did it after Foster pointed his rifle at him, KEYE reported.
He was initially detained by police at the scene but was not arrested.
Police also detained, but did not arrest, the protester who shot at Perry’s vehicle after he fired at Foster.
Both men were licensed to carry the weapons they used that evening, KTVT reported.
A Travis County grand jury indicted Perry for murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and deadly conduct on July 1 in connection with the death of Foster, the Associated Press reported.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said in a press release that the grand jury reviewed investigations by the District Attorney’s Office and Austin police, including 150 exhibits and interviews with 22 witnesses.
The defense attorney said the issue in the case is whether Foster raised his rifle at Perry, according to the KWTX.
“Sgt. Perry again simply asks that anybody who might want to engage in a hindsight review of this incident picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an AK-47 in their direction and reflect upon what they might have done if faced with the split-second decision he faced that evening,” Broden said in a press release after his client was indicted.
Perry was released on Thursday night after posting a $300,000 bail, KWTX reported.
Garza asked that Perry be required to surrender his firearms as a condition of his release, the Associated Press reported.