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With rumors swirling online that the armed Black Lives Matter protester killed in Austin, Texas, fired five rounds at the motorist who shot him, Chief Brian Manley clarified events somewhat Sunday in a press briefing.
The police chief confirmed that the deceased man was Garrett Foster, and that the motorist appeared to have fired his weapon first, after telling authorities that Foster had pointed his “AK-47 style” rifle at him.
Manley also confirmed that the motorist was released after being interviewed.
Two separate volleys can be heard in video of the shooting, and while online sleuths insisted that the fist volley of five shots was from Foster, Manley said that wasn’t the case. The first volley appears to have been from the motorist, and the second volley from someone else in the crowd, who fired at the vehicle as it sped away.
Foster did not appear to discharge his rifle.
After leaving the scene, Manley said the driver called 911 and identified himself as the shooter. The man was told to pull over and wait for police to come to him — his vehicle and weapon were secured as evidence.
“Mr. Foster, who was holding an AK-47 type assault rifle, approached the driver’s side window as others in the crowd began striking the vehicle,” the police chief explained. “Gunshots were fired from inside the vehicle at Foster. During the initial investigation of this incident, it appears that Foster may have pointed his weapon at the driver of this vehicle prior to being shot.”
A still image making the rounds online shows Foster near the car — while some claim it shows him pointing the weapon at the car, his elbow is elevated in the photo as if he was in the process of drawing the rifle up.
Here's Garrett Foster drawing his AK-47 in downtown Austin, Texas. pic.twitter.com/iYKiqgyzwe
— William Hoke Huddleston III (@willithesaint) July 26, 2020
“After the first volley of gunfire, another individual reported hearing the gunshots and observed the vehicle driving away from the crowd,” he continued. “This individual drew their concealed handgun and fired multiple shots at the vehicle as it drove away. That subject was also brought to the homicide office to be interviewed.”
Manley said both individuals “have been released pending further investigation, and both individuals did possess a concealed handgun license.”
He also praised his officers on the scene for rushing to the sight of the shooting and trying to resuscitate Foster.
“Regardless of the topic of the protest, whether the protest is geared at these officers, whether they were earlier in the evening taking insults from these individuals, these officers put all that aside, as they do every single day, and they ran towards the danger and helped this individual but unfortunately were unable to save his life,” Manley said.
Unbeknownst to Manley, in noting that officers “were following this protest,” he let slip that no effort was made to prevent protesters from taking control of city streets.
Much like other Democrat-run cities in America, the chief said Foster’s death marked the 28th homicide in Austin this year, which is an increase of well over 70%. He added that aggravated assaults are up 14% and robberies are up 16%.
“We are seeing a significant increase in violent crime this year, and this is important as we engage in conversations in policing in the future, that we ensure that we do keep in mind, that one of the key functions of a police department is the safety of our community and combating violent crime,” he said.
In taking questions from reporters, Manley was clear that police believe the driver fired first after saying Foster pointed the rifle at him.
In reporting that the driver was released, Fox7 reporter Shannon Ryan noted that the deceased man’s mother said Foster was a retired Airman and that he recently bought the rifle, bringing it to the protests for protection.
According to Ryan, Foster assured his mother that he would not point the weapon at anyone.
“Mom, I’m not that stupid,” he reportedly told his mother.
Foster, has long owned a handgun and had a concealed carry license. His mother tells me the retired Airman just recently purchased a rifle, bringing it to protests for protection. He ensured her he would never point it at anyone. Saying “mom, I’m not stupid.”
— Shannon Ryan (@ShannononFOX7) July 27, 2020
At the same time, Foster called any detractors “p-ssies,” when asked in an interview about carrying a rifle.
“I think all the people that hate us and want to say shit to us are too big of p-ssies to stop and actually do anything about it,” he said.
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