The US Army soldier who fatally shot an armed protestor after driving into the thick of a Black Lives Matter protest in Texas last summer has been charged with murder.
A Black Lives Matter protest in the streets of downtown Austin on July 25 turned violent when, Garrett Foster, who was armed with an AK-47, was killed amid an armed standoff with a Sgt. Daniel Perry, who shot and killed him while being confronted by protesters.
Perry was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on the charges of murder, aggravated assault and deadly conduct on Thursday, according to the New York Post.
Perry was stationed at Fort Hood at that time, and was working for a ride-sharing company. On that day, he had just dropped off a customer before turning down a street blocked by a crowd of protestors.
The Texas Tribune reports that Perry stopped his car, honked, then proceeded to drive his car into the crowd.
The crowd then surrounded Perry's vehicle, which is when Foster and Perry came face to face. Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran, was carrying an Ak-47 rifle, which is legal under Texas open carry laws.
The Black Lives Matter street-level instigator, 28-year-old Foster, expressed his violent intent earlier that night in an interview while openly carrying his AK-47.
"If I used it against the cops, I'm dead," Foster stated. However, it wasn't the police who shot him but an armed civilian who Foster said he didn't think would fight back. "I think all the people that hate us and wanna say shit to us are too big of pu**ies to stop and actually do anything about it," he said, ironically.
The incident, which has conflicting reports of how it unfolded, resulted in Foster dying of multiple gunshot wounds from Perry shooting Foster with a handgun before fleeing, the Tribune reports. Cops said Perry was legally armed as well.
Foster had been at the protest with his quadruple-amputee fiancee, Whitney Mitchell, for whom he quit the Air Force for the be her full-time caregiver.
Perry turned himself in and cooperated with police. He was reportedly arrested after the shooting, but was released without charges pending an investigation according to the New York Post. He turned himself in on Thursday to the Travis County Jail, and was released on $300,000 bail.
Perry's attorneys said that once Perry had turned onto the street, protestors began beating on his car. Foster had approached Perry and reportedly motioned with his gun for his to roll his window down.
Perry complied, thinking that Foster was a law enforcement officer. Once Foster aimed his weapon at him, he realized that he was not an officer, and allegedly fired in self defense, according to the attorneys.
"It is important to note that the standard of proof required for an indictment is significantly less than the standard of proof required for a conviction," Perry's attorney Clint Broden said in a statement.
According to Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza, the grand jury looked at over 150 exhibits and interviewing 22 witnesses from the investigations into the shooting.
"In this case, we were particularly presented with an extensive collection of evidence for the grand jury's consideration," Garza said.
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