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Motorist In Custody After Fatal Shooting Of Texas Man During Altercation At Black Lives Matter Protest

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What should have been a peaceful protest turned out to be not so peaceful after a car drove into a crowd of protestors and the driver allegedly shot one of the men in the crowd.

Garrett Foster, a Texas resident, was in attendance with his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, at a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest on Friday night.

In one of multiple videos that have emerged from the evening, the crowd can be heard chanting, “Fists up! Fight back!” before the protest took a negative turn, beginning with a car honking its horn.

In a video from another angle, a car is seen honking its horn before making a right turn at an open intersection, directly toward the group of protestors. Upon entering the crowd, the car brakes, and more protest members are seen hurrying over to the scene.

No protestors were struck by the vehicle, but Garrett Foster, who was pushing Mitchell in a wheelchair and carrying an AK-47, was shot three times and killed by the driver of the vehicle that entered the crowd.

Multiple witness accounts can confirm that Foster was approaching the car calmly, but there are mixed reports as to whether he raised his gun, which would have prompted the driver to shoot.

One witness in particular, however, identified as Michael Capochiano, affirmed Foster did not raise his gun and was not carrying it or approaching the car in an aggressive manner.

Foster was rushed to the nearby Dell Seton Medical Center but was confirmed dead at 9:52 PM upon arrival at the hospital.

The driver, who is currently in custody and cooperating with the investigation, insists that Foster raised his AK-47 and that the driver was shooting out of self-defense and killed the protestor.

The police have confirmed that the investigation is ongoing until they are able to clarify the sequence of events and to determine the driver’s potential motivations for shooting Foster.

Despite the ongoing investigative efforts, Foster’s loved ones are left distraught.

Sheila Foster, Garrett Foster’s mother, explained: 

“They’d been participating in these protests almost every day for the past 50 days. He was doing it because he feels really strongly about justice, and he’s very heavily against police brutality, and he wanted to support his fiancee.”

Sheila Foster shared in interviews with Good Morning America and the Dallas Morning News the “unconditional” love of their relationship.

The two began dating at the age of 17 and became engaged one year later.

When Mitchell was diagnosed with a strange infection and had to go into surgery, Foster was in the military. But when Mitchell was transferred to the intensive-care unit and went into septic shock, which would require the removal of all four of her limbs, Foster hurried home to care for his fiancée.

Sheila Foster confirmed: 

“He’s been [taking care of Whitney] ever since. He loved that woman unconditionally.” 

Whitney Mitchell’s mother, Patricia Kirven, shared that Mitchell has been “inconsolable” since the shooting.

Even the Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, expressed his condolences at the loss of a community member.

Adler stated: 

“All I know is that someone dying while protesting is horrible. Our city is shaken and, like so many in our community, I’m heartbroken and stunned.” 

As the news continues to circulate on social media and more videos from the protest on Friday become available, many have voiced their sadness and support at the loss of Foster. 

Foster’s loved ones have set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral costs and financial support for Whitney Mitchell during this time.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.