Grand Jury to Consider Charges in Death of Austin Protester

Garrett Foster, 28, was shot and killed in July

FILE: People sit in the street at a vigil for Garrett Foster on July 26, 2020 in downtown Austin, Texas. Garrett Foster, 28, who was armed and participating in a Black Lives Matter protest, was shot and killed after a chaotic altercation with a motorist who allegedly drove into the crowd. The suspect, who has yet to be identified, was taken into custody.
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A grand jury will consider whether to bring charges against a man who drove into a crowd demonstrating in Austin against police violence last July and shot and killed an armed protester, prosecutors said Friday.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza announced the move in a statement without identifying the man who shot Garrett Foster, 28. The man's attorneys have identified him as Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, a Fort Hood soldier, whom they say was working for a ride-share company and acted in self-defense after Foster pointed a gun at him.

"Coming to a decision in these kinds of cases can be particularly challenging, and we are grateful to the grand jury for their service and commitment to considering all evidence and law," Garza said.

Foster was killed during a night of protests and unrest in several U.S. cities. In the immediate aftermath, then-Police Chief Brian Manley said officers heard "two separate volleys of gunfire" and made their way to the crowd, where they found Foster with multiple gunshot wounds.

Perry's attorneys told the AP in July that their client had just dropped off a rider when he turned onto a street filled with protesters who began beating on his vehicle. They said that Foster approached the car and motioned with his gun for Perry to lower his window. Perry initially thought Foster worked in law enforcement and put his window down, they said. But when Foster raised his weapon toward Perry, the soldier realized Foster was not a police officer and shot him in self-defense with a handgun in his car, the attorneys said.

In a statement Friday, Perry's attorneys said they have confidence that "when grand jurors ask themselves what they would do in the split second following a person raising an assault rifle toward them, we are confident the grand jury will conclude that Sgt. Perry's actions of self-defense were justified."

Acacia Coronado is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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