Daniel Perry has said that he was the driver who shot Garrett Foster at a protest in Austin, Texas, that left Foster dead on Saturday night, July 25. In an email to KXAN, Perry’s attorney identified him. Perry is active duty in the military and was working as a rideshare driver the night of the shooting. Perry was detained at the scene and later released. In his statement, Perry said that he didn’t know there was a protest until he drove into the crowd. Police have not yet identified him or the other shooter, who police said was shooting at the car as it drove away.
1. Perry Is in the Army & Served in Afghanistan
Perry’s attorney, Clint Broden of Broden & Mickelsen, told KXAN that Perry shot Foster in self-defense. Broden has been representing protesters pro-bono.
Borden said that Perry is active duty in the Army. He said that Perry served in Afghanistan is from North Texas. The Army confirmed with KXAN that Perry with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.
In a statement, Perry said he sympathized with Foster’s family, but asked the public: “We simply ask that anybody who might want to criticize Sgt. Perry’s actions, picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an assault rifle in their direction and reflect upon what they might have done if faced with the split second decision faced by Sgt. Perry that evening.”
You can read the attorney’s full statement here or below.
— Alex Caprariello (@alcaprari23) July 31, 2020
2. Perry Had Just Finished Driving for a Rideshare Company Before the Shooting
Just before the shooting that Saturday night, Perry had been driving for a rideshare company and took a client to a location near Congress downtown, KXAN reported. He turned right onto Congress from Fourth Street while looking for a food delivery request or another rider, and didn’t know there was a protest.
He said he was surrounded by a group of people when he turned and some were beating on his car. Perry said in a statement that he thought Foster was motioning with his AK-47 to lower his window. Perry lowered his window, but then said Foster raised his weapon and so Perry fired his own weapon.
3. Perry’s Twitter Account Reveals He’s a Conservative Who Once Wrote, ‘We’ll Show Them They Don’t Mess with Texas’
Perry had a Twitter account called @KnivesfromTrigu that has since been taken down, Daily Mail reported. The Google listing for the Twitter account still shows Daniel Perry’s name and reveals the location as being Fort Hood, where Perry is stationed.
Perry’s Twitter account does not appear to be saved on Internet Archive. A couple of saved caches on Google reveal some of his political beliefs, along with archives on Archive Today. First, he responded to a tweet from Trump saying that he hoped Kavanaugh would be confirmed.
He also appeared to be an anime fan, replying to a tweet by Anime Fest and saying, “I wish I could go by I am stuck at work.” [sic]
The Daily Mail also shared a tweet from Trump that Perry had responded to from June 19, when Trump wrote: “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!”
Perry responded, “Send them to Texas we will show them why we say don’t mess with Texas.” The archive of the tweet is here.
Some additional archives from his Twitter account were saved on Archive.Today.
One tweet shows his replying to a tweet from Breaking 911, writing: “F*** that s*** you shoot center of mass. 1 it is a bigger target. 2 is still drops them. 3 even if you shoot them in the leg there is a major artery that will cause the person to bleed out in just a few minutes.”
He also talked about his deployment in tweets from 2018. He shared some thoughts on the military, saying that he felt like the country kept betraying the Kurds, and he once posted a video of Biden that Trump had shared, calling Biden a “Pedo.”
4. Austin Police Said the Shooter Fired from the Car & Foster Never Fired His Weapon
In a press conference on July 25, officials said that the shooter fired from the car at a protester, hitting and killing him. Although they didn’t name the protester in the press conference, family members later shared that Garrett Foster was killed. He had carried an AK-47 with him (open carry is legal in Texas), but police later said that he didn’t fire the weapon.
Senior police officer Katrina Ratcliff told the press on Saturday night: “One adult male victim was located with a gunshot wound. That victim was transported…but was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter. Initial reports indicate that the victim may have been carrying a rifle and approached suspect vehicle. Suspect was in the vehicle and shot at the victim. Suspect was detained and is cooperating with officers… There’s no longer a threat to the public and no one else has been reported injured.”
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) July 26, 2020
Tony Plohetski of Austin American-Statesman shared the next day that officials had determined that Foster had not shot his weapon. Two people did open fire. One was the driver and one may have been a person in the crowd who shot at the car as it drove away.
UPDATE: Officials believe one shooter was the driver of a car, and the other was in the crowd and may have opened fire on the car as it drove away. The investigation remains fluid, but this is the account police have right now of what happened. https://t.co/kQzX6VGl2c
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) July 26, 2020
Yes, Robin. Two people who are not Garrett Foster. And thank you. https://t.co/Xgkdz0YfwT
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) July 26, 2020
4. A Witness Said They Saw a Car ‘Swerving’ & Almost Hitting Protesters, While Police Said Protesters Surrounded the Car
Witness accounts and police accounts differ in the details of what happened that night. A witness on the scene told Mose Buchele from KUT that they saw a blue car swerving into the middle of the street, almost hitting protesters. Some people in the crowd tried “smacking” the car to try to get it to stop.
The witness told KUT:
As we’re walking down passing 4th street, a blue car just comes swerving out into the middle of the street almost runs over a bunch of protesters… Everybody around starts, like, smacking the car trying to get him to slow down. And they stop. And some guy, he walks up and he’s like ‘Hey just don’t do that you’re going to get somebody hurt.’ And he [in car] pulls down his window and he fires three shots into the guy. From point blank. No words no nothing. And then rolls up his window and zooms off. He just fired straight into the mess of the crowd. Not away from it, but towards it.”
Another witness shared a similar story, which you can watch in the video here.
An additional witness to the shooting, James Sasinowski, shared on Twitter what he saw happen. He wrote: “So I just watched someone in our Austin #BLM protest get shot by some random white dude in a luxury sedan. I was 20 ft from the firing. That was…sobering? I’m not sure I have the right words right now… The driver aggressively drove into a crowd of people. The driver instigated the entire incident… Police were there in seconds, but EMS took forever. It was weird… There were hundreds of protesters marching north up Congress Ave and had started to make their way into the 4th St intersection… There is no way the driver saw Garrett before accelerating. Garrett was in the middle of a crowd of hundreds.” He also retweeted a detailed explanation he wrote about what he saw.
Police said that the car turned on Congress near 4th, where protesters were marching, KXAN reported, and that protesters, including Foster, surrounded the car and the driver fired five shots from inside the vehicle.
In a press release shared by Perry’s lawyer, Perry said that he had proceeded to a “hot spot” to wait for a notification of a new rideshare client or food delivery order. He then turned right onto Congress from Fourth, where he encountered a large crowd of people. He said he didn’t know there was a demonstration until he arrived at that corner. He believed Foster had motioned for him to roll down his window and then raised his weapon.
According to the press release, several witnesses said they saw Foster raise his gun. Other witnesses at the scene have said the opposite. Perry said he fired at Foster using a gun he carried in his car for protection while driving strangers in his ridesharing program.
5. Video Captured the Shooting as It Happened
The shooting happened just before 10 p.m. near the intersection of Congress Avenue and East 6th Street, KXAN reported. An initial call said multiple patients were involved, but Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) later clarified on Twitter that one person was being transferred to a trauma center with life-threatening injuries. That person later died. KVUE reported that this was a Black Lives Matter protest.
You can see the video of the shooting below.
WARNING: The following video may be disturbing for viewers and contains footage and sounds of multiple rounds of gunfire and people fleeing the scene and screaming.
— Nick (@Spid3rNS) July 26, 2020
The video above was shared on Twitter by Nick, who said the video was recorded by Hiram Gilberto. On his Facebook page, Gilberto said that he was just a few feet from the shooting when it happened.
Gilberto wrote on Facebook: “A protestor was shot with LIVE ROUNDS today. I was no more ten feet from the shooter and running towards his car. It was TOO CLOSE. Currently on my way to give a witness statement to APD. KEEP THOSE AFFECTED IN YOUR THOUGHTS.”