A US Army soldier who shot and killed an armed BLM protester after driving into a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Texas last summer has been now been charged with murder, authorities confirmed on Thursday.
Sgt. Daniel Perry has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury on charges of murder, aggravated assault and deadly conduct in the July 25 death of Garrett Foster in Austin, the NY Post reports.
Perry was stationed at Fort Hood and was working for a ride-sharing company at the time. He had just dropped off a customer when he turned onto a street filled with people protesting police brutality.
He stopped his car, honked, and seconds later, police said Perry drove his car into the crowd, The Texas Tribune reports.
The crowd surrounded the car and then Perry encountered Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran, who was holding an AK-47 rifle. The rifle was legal under Texas open carry laws.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened next, but it all ended with Foster dead of multiple gunshot wounds. Police said that Perry, who was also legally armed, fatally shot Foster with a handgun before fleeing the area, the Tribune reported.
Perry was arrested after the shooting and then released without charges pending an investigation.
His attorneys have said that the soldier acted in self-defense after Foster aimed his weapon at him.
They said that the protesters had begun beating on Perry’s vehicle after he turned onto the street, and that Foster approached him and motioned with his gun for Perry to lower his window.
Thinking Foster was a law-enforcement officer, Perry complied — but when Foster raised his weapon at him, the soldier realized Foster was not a cop and fired in self-defense, the attorneys claimed.
“It is important to note that the standard of proof required for an indictment is significantly less than the standard of proof required for a conviction,” Perry’s attorney Clint Broden said in a statement.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said that the grand jury reviewed evidence from the investigations into the shooting, looking at over 150 exhibits and interviewing 22 witnesses.
“In this case, we were particularly presented with an extensive collection of evidence for the grand jury’s consideration,” Garza said.
Other witnesses have previously said that Perry was the one initiating the violence before shooting Foster dead. Foster attended the protest with his quadruple-amputee fiancée. He had quit the Air Force to be her full-time caregiver.
Perry turned himself into the Travis County Jail on Thursday and was released on $300,000 bail.