A driver who gunned down a Black Lives Matter protester has been released from jail after he claimed he was defending himself while the protester aimed an AK-47 style rifle at him, police said.
The driver, who has not been named, was released from custody on Sunday, 24 hours after he shot Garrett Foster, 28, dead on Saturday during a rally in Austin, Texas.
Foster died from multiple gunshot wounds at the protest, where he had reportedly been with his quadruple-amputee fiancee, Whitney Mitchell.
After the shooting, the driver left the scene and called 911. He was later interviewed by police and told officers that he ‘had shot someone who had approached the driver’s window of their vehicle and pointed a rifle at them,’ according to Austin police chief Bryan Manley.
Photos taken at the protest show Foster holding the rifle near the vehicle. He also was interviewed in the moments before the incident and he was seen holding the weapon.
‘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,’ Manley said.
‘(The driver’s) account is that Mr Foster pointed the weapon directly at him and he fired his handgun at Mr Foster.’
As the driver sped off, another protester ‘fired multiple shots at the vehicle as it drove away.’
According to Manley, both the protester and the driver had licenses to carry a concealed handgun. They were both released from jail on Sunday. However, police did not say whether Foster had a license, although it is legal to openly carry an AK-47-style rifle in Texas without a license.
Foster’s sister, Anna Mayo, said her brother was passionate about gun rights, but ‘would have never, ever pointed a gun at somebody’ in an interview with the Statesman.
‘He always carried guns with him…He always would exercise his right to carry, but he would never threaten somebody…He was one of the most kindhearted people – that was the whole reason he was out there.’
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