Soldier who shot Austin protester Garrett Foster reveals identity, claims self defense, attorney says

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man who says he shot and killed Austin protester Garrett Foster revealed his identity late Thursday night in an email from his attorney to KXAN. The email identified that shooter as Daniel Perry.

Austin police have not yet confirmed Perry or anyone else as a suspect in the shooting.

Perry’s attorney says the shooting was in self defense.

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.

Manley says officers detained both shooters but later released both men, including the driver they say shot and killed Foster.

Daniel Perry is the man claiming through his attorney to be that driver.

Who is Daniel Perry?

Attorney Clint Broden of Broden & Mickelsen, a Dallas-based criminal defense firm, released Perry’s personal account of the shooting late Thursday night.

KXAN contacted Broden after getting the email, and the attorney confirmed he represents Perry. The law firm’s website says they have been representing non-violent Dallas protesters pro bono.

Broden says Daniel Perry is an active duty sergeant with the U.S. Army from North Texas and has served a tour in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army confirmed Perry is an active-duty soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood. He has been at Fort Hood since 2018. A spokesman for the unit, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, said it is cooperating with APD on its investigation.

In an interview with KXAN later, Broden said Perry had been living in an apartment off-base. Broden said people started showing up to Perry’s apartment, so the soldier moved back onto base during the last few days.

“For his own safety, he moved onto base,” said Broden. “And he has not left the base.”

Shooter gives his take on the deadly encounter

The statement says Perry was driving for a rideshare company when he dropped a client off near Congress Avenue. He was lookin

g for another request for pickup or food delivery when he turned right onto Congress Avenue from Fourth Street.

That’s when he encountered the group of protesters.

“Prior to arriving at the corner of Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, Sgt. Perry did not know that a demonstration was taking place,” the statement says.

“When Sgt. Perry turned on the Congress Avenue, several people started beating on his
vehicle. An individual carrying an assault rifle, now known to be Garrett Foster, quickly approached the car and then motioned with the assault rifle for Mr. Perry to lower his window,” which the attorney says Perry did, thinking the gunman was a police officer.

The attorney says Foster then began to raise his weapon, and Perry shot and fired. Perry drove a short distance away to safety while another protester shot at him. He then called police.

The attorney’s statement says Perry “deeply sympathizes” with the Foster family but then concluded with a plea to the public:

“We simply ask that anybody who might want to criticize Sgt. Perry’s actions,
picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an assault rifle in their direction and reflect upon what they might have done if faced with the split second decision faced by Sgt. Perry that evening.”

Broden later added, “From all the things I hear about [Foster] and granted, they are from his friends and family, he sounds like a very good guy who made a very bad mistake.”

Details of the shooting confirmed by Austin police

Many of the details in the attorney statement align with what Austin police say the driver who shot Garrett Foster told them.

“During the initial investigation of this incident, it appears Mr. Foster may have pointed his rifle at the driver of this vehicle prior to being shot,” Chief Manley said in an update about the shooting on Sunday.

A photo of Garrett Foster and his fiancée from the GoFundMe page launched to pay for his funeral expenses.

The chief elaborated that the driver’s account is that “Mr. Foster pointed the weapon directly at him.”

After the shooting, Chief Manley confirmed that a person did call 911, saying someone approached the driver-side window of their vehicle and pointed a rifle at them.

The department says both Perry and the second shooter have concealed handgun licenses. At this point, no one has been charged in connection to this incident.

Watch Austin Police Chief Brian Manley’s Sunday briefing below:

Perry and his attorneys say they want Austin police to conduct a full investigation.

“[Perry] waited for the police to arrive and was fully cooperative with the police following the shooting and continues to do so,” the statement said.

Austin police ask more witnesses to come forward

Austin police are still asking protesters who witnessed the shooting to provide information.

Investigators say they are also looking for more videos and photos from that night to figure out what happened. Detectives are still in the process of contacting businesses in the area with visible security cameras.

Video footage from the night of the protest shows Foster being interviewed about his weapon.

Anyone with information on the shooting can call Capital Area Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-8477 or email homicide.apd@austintexas.gov.

Uber and Lyft laws on carrying weapons

Although the statement does not say which rideshare service Perry was working for, according to policies found online from Uber and Lyft, drivers should not have weapons.

Lyft’s website says it has a strict “no weapons” policy, which includes times that drivers are working and representing the company.

“This means that even in places where it is legal to carry a weapon, we ask that you do not carry a weapon on any Lyft property,” the website said.

Uber’s website says it does not allow drivers or their guests to carry firearms while using the app.

“Uber prohibits riders and their guests, as well as driver and delivery partners, from carrying firearms of any kind while using the app, to the extent permitted by applicable law.”

Lyft responded to KXAN’s questions Friday afternoon about whether or not Perry worked for the company.

Lyft said, “Based on the name given, we have no records indicating that this individual ever drove with Lyft.”

KXAN has reached out to Uber and is waiting to hear back.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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