Protester Shot Dead At Black Lives Matter Demonstration In Austin, Texas
Police are investigating after a man was shot dead at an anti-racism march in Austin, Texas.
Garrett Foster is said to have protested as part of the Black Lives Matter movement every day for the last 50 days, along with his fiancée Whitney Mitchell, who uses a wheelchair.
On July 25, a car is believed to have driven into a crowd of protesters, before someone jumped out and opened fire into the group.
His mother, Sheila Foster, said her son was taken to hospital, but he was sadly pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
Police have arrested a suspect they believe to be the gunman.
Sheila explained her son and Whitney have been keen activists, telling Good Morning America how they have been taking part of the Black Lives Matter movement every day since the death of George Floyd in May this year.
‘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,’ she said. ‘His fiancée is African-American.’
Shortly after the incident, police confirmed there had been a fatal shooting but did not identify the victim. They did, however, say he had been carrying a rifle.
Rifles are a fairly common sight at protests in Texas, where gun laws are more lax than in other parts of the US, and Sheila said it ‘wouldn’t surprise’ her if her son had been carrying a gun, as he had a licence to carry and ‘he would have felt the need to protect himself.’
Speaking to a journalist at a previous rally, Garrett explained why he felt the need to carry a rifle during the protests.
‘They don’t let us march in the streets anymore, so I got to practice some of our rights,’ he said, BBC News reports. ‘But if I use it against the cops, I’m dead.’
Tributes have already begun pouring in for Garrett on social media, with a GoFundMe already having raised more than $100,000 towards a funeral and memorial for the activist.
‘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 funeral, burial and other expenses in the days to come. We appreciate all the love, support and compassion during this emotional time,’ the GoFundMe description reads.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.