One man was shot and killed during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.
On Saturday night, 28-year-old Garrett Foster was shot three times and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Austin Police Department said. According to authorities, Garrett was shot by someone who drove their vehicle toward protesters.
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The unidentified driver called 911 after the incident and said they evaded the scene, claiming that they shot after the victim pointed a rifle at the driver’s seat window. Another person fired at the car as it drove away, police said.
According to The New York Times, Garrett attended the rally armed with an AK-47-type assault rifle, telling an independent reporter on-camera earlier on Saturday that “they don’t let us march in the streets anymore, so I got to practice some of our rights.”
“I mean, if I use it against the cops, I’m dead, and I think all the people that hate us and want to say s— to us are too big of p—— to stop and actually do anything about it,” he said at the time.
Speaking with Good Morning America, Garrett’s mother Sheila Foster said her late son had been attending local demonstrations for weeks along with his fiancée Whitney Mitchell. “They’ve been participating in these protests almost every day for the past 50 days,” she told the outlet.
Sheila added that she was told that Garrett was pushing Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, in her wheelchair across a street when the shooting happened, KTRK reports.
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Sheila said her son had a license to carry his gun, and explained why he was passionate about attending the protests: “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.”
One witness, Michael Capochiano, 53, told the Times that he was “surprised that nobody got hit” by the car after he said he heard its wheels “squealing from hitting the accelerator so fast.” Capochiano said he didn’t see Garrett point the gun at the driver.
“He was not aiming the gun or doing anything aggressive with the gun,” he 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.”
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Whitney Mitchell, Garrett Foster’s fiancée, attends a march for Foster on Sunday in downtown Austin.
Sergio Flores/Getty Images
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A GoFundMe page established to cover funeral costs for Garrett has so far raised more than $100,000. According to organizers of the fundraiser, the proceeds will also go toward “burial expenses, mental health care, and expenses that goes towards Whitney’s care.”
“He fought against injustice, served in the military and was fiercely protective of his fiancée,” read the GoFundMe page’s description. “They fell in love at 17 and were never apart. … We appreciate all the love, support and compassion during this emotional time.”