Sheila Foster, the mother of the victim, said Garrett Foster was pushing his fiancee's wheelchair before he was fatally shot.
Disclaimer: This story contains details (and videos) of gun violence that readers may find disturbing
A 28-year-old military veteran tragically died after being shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin Texas. The heartbreaking incident unfolded on Saturday night and the deafening sounds of multiple gunshots echoed in a video broadcasted in a Facebook Live. According to ABC7, journalist Hiram Gilberto filmed the video which showed protestors marching towards an intersection when a disturbance breaks out in the middle of the crows. People begin running away in panic as five gunshots are heard in quick succession. The victim of this incident was identified as Garrett Foster who according to his mother was pushing the wheelchair of his fiancée Whitney Mitchell, a 28-year-old quadruple amputee.
Foster and Mitchell were high school sweethearts who grew up in Plano, Texas, before moving to Austin two years ago. "He was doing it because he felt really strongly about justice and he was very heavily against police brutality, and he wanted to support his fiancée," his devastated mother told Good Morning America. "His fiancée is African-American." Bystanders and Austin's police chief revealed that a car suddenly appeared and began vigorously honking before speeding towards the protestors. That's when Foster approached the driver to have a word but was stuck fatally when the unidentified suspect opened fire.
Although the driver of the vehicle claimed that it was Foster who opened fire, the Austin police department disputed the claim saying another protestor may have fired shots at the car as it was driving away. Speaking about the heartbreaking incident, the victim's mom Sheila Foster said, "And this gentleman got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times." According to Rolling Stone, Foster was armed with his licensed AK-47 rifle which is permitted in Texas per the state's gun laws. Apparently, the veteran would frequently bring his weapons to protests and would discuss the same with other activists as well.
"They don’t let us march in the streets anymore, so I got to practice some of our rights," he was heard saying in footage of the protest which was captured on Periscope. Having shot Foster, the driver contacted the police and told them that he had shot the military veteran, according to the Austin Police chief. The unidentified shooter, who had a state handgun license, was placed under arrest and kept in custody until Sunday night after which he was released. Foster was rushed to the hospital where was pronounced dead.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help cover the cost of the funeral and other expenses. It raised over $107,000 in just a day. Garrett Foster was murdered last night July 25th while attending a peaceful protest in Austin, TX with his disabled fiancée in her wheelchair. An unknown vehicle barreled into the crowd and this evil person shot and killed Garrett, while he was trying to protect his fiancée. A great person was taken away from his fiancée, his mother, father, siblings, and a host of loving family members. He fought against injustice, served in the military, and was fiercely protective of his fiancée. They fell in love at 17 and were never apart. This fund is established to cover the funeral, burial, and other expenses in the days to come. We appreciate all the love, support, and compassion during this emotional time, read the page.
😢 WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT. PLEASE KNOW HIS DEATH IS NOT IN VAIN. MY HEART GOES OUT TO HIS ENTIRE FAMILY, AND FIANCÉE. I’M SO SORRY. I CAN NOT WITH THE DAILY NEWS, ON THE FALLEN FOR OUR BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS!! BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS!!!!! #BlackLivesMatter— 1746Blythefan (@Blythefan1746) July 27, 2020
The fundraiser, which has been disabled at the moment, was organized by Patricia Kirven who thanked everyone for their generous donations and revealed how the money was going to be used. Thank you all again for your support and donations to assist The Foster Family. We exceeded the goal! All proceeds have been sent to the Foster Family to cover the burial expenses, mental health care, and to help with expenses for Whitney’s care, it continued.