AUSTIN (KXAN) — The lawyer for Daniel Perry late Thursday night identified him as the man who fired multiple shots that killed an Austin protester over the weekend — and said the shooting was in self-defense.
Austin police have not identified a suspect in the shooting July 25 that killed Garrett Foster.
Here is what we know about Perry:
He claims self-defense
APD says when a car turned onto Congress Avenue near Fourth Street on July 25, where protesters were marching, some protesters, including Garrett Foster, surrounded the car.
APD said Foster had an “assault-style weapon” with him. Video footage taken by Hiram Gilberto from the night of the protest before the shooting happened shows Foster being interviewed about his weapon.
After protesters surrounded the car, the driver fired five shots, which hit Foster multiple times, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
Perry said, through a lawyer, that “several people started beating on his vehicle.” A man, later identified as Foster, approached the car and motioned for Perry to lower his window, which he did, the lawyer said.
“This individual with the assault rifle then began to raise the assault rifle toward Sgt. Perry,” the lawyer wrote. “It was only then that Sgt. Perry, who carried a handgun in his car for his own protection while driving strangers in the ride share program, fired on the person to protect his own life.”
Another protester then shot at Perry’s car, but did not hit him. Perry drove off, called 911 and spoke to police when they arrived. APD confirmed they have spoken to both shooters that night and released them.
He’s a soldier
Perry is an active-duty soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, according to the U.S. Army. He has been at Fort Hood since 2018.
Perry’s lawyer says he has served a tour in Afghanistan.
He’s a rideshare driver
The lawyer’s statement says Perry was driving for a rideshare company and dropped off someone near Congress Avenue, shortly before he drove near the protesters and the shooting took place.
The statement does not specify which rideshare service Perry worked for. KXAN has reached out to both Uber and Lyft. Lyft responded that he was not one of its drivers.
Both rideshare companies have policies on their websites that say drivers should not have weapons.
It is likely the rideshare company Perry was driving for will fire him for violating this policy.
He has received criticism for previous social media posts
Members of the public have questioned Perry’s motivations and frame of mind on the night of the downtown Austin shooting based on previous social media postings he has made. Perry’s attorney confirmed to KXAN Friday that he did write those Tweets but says they were taken “out of context” by those trying to draw conclusions from them.
On June 19 (Juneteenth), U.S. President Donald Trump posted a Tweet ahead of a planned campaign rally in Tulsa saying “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!”
As the Texas Tribune reported, a now-deleted Twitter account which is believed to be Perry’s with the handle “@knivesfromtrigu” responded to the president’s Tweet, saying, “Send them to Texas we will show them why we say don’t mess with Texas.”
The site, Tribune of the People, which refers to itself as a “revolutionary news service” reports that the account is connected to Daniel Perry and has screenshots of previous Tweets which they allege are Perry’s.
Perry’s attorney Clint Broden said to KXAN on Friday, “well there are some Tweets where he is essentially agreeing with President Trump about violent protesters and people are characterizing that as some intent to harm these particular protesters, but I think they are taken out of context.”
“I would venture to guess that most people are not in favor of violent protests. But Sergeant Perry for the last eight years has worked to defend our Constitution and that Constitution allows for peaceful protest and he had no problem with that,” Broden continued. “I understand why people might want to try and [make that connection] but I think that’s quite unfair and [the Tweets] were a couple months old in and of themselves.”
He was arrested and given deferred adjudication
According to Texas Department of Public Safety records, the Addison Police Department arrested Perry in November 2005. He was charged with assault causing bodily injury, which is a misdemeanor.
In February 2007, he pleaded no contest in exchange for deferred adjudication, which is a process that allows a defendant to avoid a formal conviction on their record if they meet certain requirements within a certain period of time. KXAN does not have details of Perry’s deferred adjudication agreement, but records show his community supervision expired in May 2008.