AUSTIN (KXAN) — The attorney for a man who says he shot and killed Austin protester Garrett Foster released new information on Monday “in an effort to correct false facts contained on social media and in some press reports.”
Daniel Perry identified himself as the shooter in an email from his attorney last week.
Foster, 28, died July 25 after he was shot at a protest in downtown Austin. A car turned on Congress Avenue near 4th Street at 9:51 p.m. into where a group of protesters were marching against police violence. Protesters surrounded the car. Foster was armed with an assault-style weapon and was one of the protesters who surrounded the car.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says that’s when the driver fired five shots from inside the vehicle, hitting Foster multiple times. Foster never fired a shot. Another protester then shot at the car three times, but did not hit anyone.
Perry’s attorney says the shooting was in self defense.
The attorney says Perry, an active-duty Army sergeant, was limited to travel of only 100 miles from his post at Fort Hood. He was driving for Uber to earn extra money in Austin — which is the closest location with a significant customer base.
He said Perry had been driving since 11 a.m. that morning and the reports that Perry was only in Austin to harm protesters is not true.
“He’s driven for [Uber] for about a year,” Clint Borden, Perry’s attorney said. “So this idea that is being advanced by some that he purposely drove down to Austin to upset the protesters is just categorically false.”
Video from that night shows Perry’s car driving into a crowd of protesters. Those that were there that night have pointed to it, saying that action is enough reason for them to fear for their own lives. Broden says Perry was following traffic laws the entire time.
KXAN has reached out several times to Foster’s family. They have declined interviews.
Since the shooting, the attorney says Perry has been restricted to his post for his own safety and has not left, despite reports that he had returned to the scene of the shooting. “The allegation that Sgt. Perry attended Mr. Foster’s memorial is absolutely false,” his attorney says.
Borden said he has seen the picture that is circulating on social media which shows a man dressed in casual attire, a hat, sunglasses and a face partially covered by a mask. Many people have spread the picture on social media, claiming it is Perry at the site of the memorial, threatening mourners. Borden said that picture is not Perry.
“For those that might have an agenda, I suppose you could look at it and think that it might be him. But the fact of the matter is that it is not him, he was on base. No question, he was on base,” Borden said.
The attorney also released these photos of what he says is damage to Perry’s vehicle done before and after he shot Garrett Foster. He says the photos show where a brick scraped the car, where the door and hood were damaged from protester blows and where bullet holes from a second shooter entered the car’s frame.
Perry was not hurt by the gunfire. Police haven’t identified Perry or anyone else as a suspect in the shooting. So far, there are still no criminal charges filed in this case.
Borden said Perry feels distraught at the events that unfolded that night, but is not regretful about his decision to fire upon Foster.
“He saying he doesn’t sleep at night. He doesn’t eat. I don’t want to compare his state of mind to what happened that night to Mr. Foster, but it’s not easy to take someone’s life. Most of us will never have that happen to us,” Borden said.
“What would you do if someone raised an AK-47 in your direction and you had access to a handgun? Would you pray that he wasn’t going to shoot you and run over the protesters in front of the car in order to get out of there? Or would you use access you had to a handgun? I think any person who is being honest with themselves would do the exact same thing that Sgt. Perry did in the few seconds he had to make that decision.”
APD has not yet named or charged anyone involved in Foster’s shooting. Police say they are still investigating.