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.
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.
Clip of the shooting at the protest in Austin Texas from Hiram Gilberto on FB pic.twitter.com/VFbzqfoSff
— Anthony Martino (@anthonyfartino) July 26, 2020
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.
AUSTIN: Another angle of the shooting confirms exactly what witnesses described.
The car is stopped at the light, away from the march. The driver deliberately and accelerates and corners into the marchers.
The marchers did not surround the car; THE DRIVER DROVE INTO THE CROWD. pic.twitter.com/VVwTXzZqPE
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) July 26, 2020
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.
“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.
I’ve spoken to multiple eyewitnesses. None of them saw Garrett even raise his rifle, let alone shoot.
One eyewitness. who saw Garrett die in the street, says he never discharged his weapon and that the safety was still on.
Anyone saying Garrett shot first is making things up.
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) July 26, 2020
everyone who validates the actions of the trash that did this needs to experience almost being hit and shot at for simply walking down a street, then come back with some perspective.
it's fundamentally wrong.
— Alex (@Trappmastuh) July 26, 2020
One person killed in Austin tonight. A peaceful protester.
— Heather ODonnell (@iamheatherod) July 26, 2020
Foster’s loved ones have set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral costs and financial support for Whitney Mitchell during this time.