Note: Updated with linked information about Perry's Tweets, comments from Foster's mother.
The man who killed Garrett Foster at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Austin last weekend revealed his identity and claims he fired his gun in self defense, according to a statement shared with Austonia by his attorney on Friday.
Daniel Perry, an active duty sergeant with the U.S. Army, was driving for a ride-hailing company when he encountered protesters at the corner of Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, according to the statement from Clint Broden of the Dallas firm Broden & Mickelsen.
Perry claims several people started beating on his car and that Foster, who was carrying an assault rifle, began to raise the gun toward him, prompting Perry to shoot the person "to protect his own life," per the release. Perry said in the statement he drove away and called the police.
Foster's mother, Sheila Foster, told the Austin American-Statesman that Perry went to the rally not by mistake, but "to hurt people."
In the report, she pointed to statements on Perry's now-defunct Twitter account as evidence that he disagreed with the BLM protesters.
But Broden told the Statesman the tweets show a man "agreeing with President Trump that there's a problem with violent protests" but who is "fully in favor of peaceful protests."
The Statesman reported that some 15 years ago, Perry pleaded no-contest and received probation for a 2005 misdemeanor assault against a family member in Addison, north of Dallas. He has no other arrests on his record, and Foster has no arrests, the report said.
After the shooting
After Perry shot Foster, another member of the crowd shot at Perry's vehicle, police have said.
Perry and the member of the crowd who discharged a handgun were questioned and released, according to APD. Both had concealed handgun licenses.
Perry's attorney claims witnesses who attended the protest told police that Foster raised his rifle "in a direct threat to Sgt. Perry's life." In a press release issued on Monday, APD said witnesses described several different versions of the incident.
The attorney did not specify which ride-hailing company employed Perry. Both Uber and Lyft prohibit drivers from carrying firearms while using the app, with some exceptions. It is unclear if those policies apply to active military personnel.
A spokesperson for Lyft said there are no records indicating Perry ever drove for the company. Austonia has reached out to Uber for comment.
Both Lyft and Uber prohibit drivers from carrying firearms while using the app, with some exceptions. It is unclear if those policies apply to active military personnel.In the absence of an arrest, charges or public naming of the shooter, speculation swirled in the six days since Foster's death.
APD released a statement on Thursday, before Perry was identified, attempting to quell rumors about his identity and why police had not identified or charged him.
"There are rumors circulating about the identity of those involved," it read. "What we can definitely say is that no one involved in this case has any connection to law enforcement agencies, including APD."
Asked by Austonia if that included familial connections to any APD employees or officers, a spokesperson for the department confirmed that "the people involved in the case have no nexus to APD in any way."
APD Statement on Garrett Foster Case pic.twitter.com/aQ8q4cU1Zx
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) July 30, 2020
Additional reporting by Karen Brooks Harper.
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