A Black Lives Matter protester, who was shot dead during a demonstration in Texas by a driver who sped toward the crowd before opening fire Saturday night, was pushing his paraplegic fiancee in her wheelchair just moments before the shooting.
The victim has been identified as Garrett Foster, whose mother, Sheila, spoke to Good Morning America on Sunday.
Foster’s mother said her son had attended several peaceful protests with his fiancee Whitney Mitchell, who is a quadruple amputee. Sheila said Foster was pushing his fiancee right before he was fatally shot.
The shooting happened just before 10pm during a protest in Austin, police spokesperson Katrina Ratliff told reporters early Sunday.
Garrett Foster (pictured with his fiancee), who was shot dead during a demonstration in Texas when he approached a vehicle Saturday night, was pushing his paraplegic fiancee in her wheelchair just moments before the shooting
First responders are seen preparing to transport Foster to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead
During the demonstration, a vehicle had honked, turned down a road and then sped toward protesters, witness Michael Capochiano said.
The vehicle became surrounded by shouting protesters, and Foster approached the vehicle carrying a rifle, Capochiano recalled.
The driver then stuck a gun out of the car window and fired several shots, hitting the man with the rifle, before speeding away, according to Capochiano.
But according to Foster’s mother, the man ‘got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times’.
Foster was then rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Sheila told GMA that she wouldn’t be surprised if her son was carrying a gun because he was licensed to carry and probably ‘would’ve felt the need to protect himself’.
The open carrying of long guns is generally allowed in Texas.
Sheila also said that Foster and Mitchell had been together since they were 17 years old.
Ratliff said a suspect has been detained in connection to the shooting and is cooperating with police.
Foster’s mother Sheila (pictured) said a man driving a vehicle during the protest ‘got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times’
Sheila also said that Foster and Mitchell (pictured as teens) had been together since they were 17 years old
The Black Lives Matter demonstration was streamed live on Facebook and captured audio of a vehicle’s horn honking.
Footage posted during the Facebook Live showed the moment when several shots rang out as a group of about 100 people marched and chanted ‘fists up! Fight back!’
There were no other deaths or injuries reported. No other details from police or the EMS were immediately available.
Protesters took to streets across the United States overnight into early Sunday, sparking clashes with police, amid a wave of public anger over Donald Trump’s planned ‘surge’ of federal agents into large cities.
The demonstrations against racism and police brutality – ignited two months ago by the death in Minneapolis of unarmed African-American George Floyd – come as Trump faces an increasingly tough battle for re-election, and is campaigning on a ‘law and order’ platform.
He has met stiff resistance from big city mayors, like Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, many of them Democrats who accuse Trump of magnifying the problem for political gain.
‘I have drawn a very hard line. We’ll not allow federal troops in our city,’ Lightfoot said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
‘We will not tolerate unnamed agents taking people off the street, violating their rights and holding them in custody.’
Protesters marched in Austin, Texas, as well as Louisville, Kentucky; New York; Omaha, Nebraska; California’s Oakland and Los Angeles, and Richmond in Virginia.
In Seattle, police arrested 45 people during a night of violent protests in which demonstrators set fire to trailers by a construction site for a youth detention facility.
Protesters slashed car tires and smashed trailer windows, prompting police to declare a riot and clear the streets with pepper spray and flash-bang grenades.
Police Chief Carmen Best implored people to ‘come in peace to the city,’ and castigated the demonstrators.
‘The rioters had no regard for the community’s safety, for officers’ safety or for the businesses and property that they destroyed,’ local media quoted her as saying.
In Portland, police and federal agents fired tear gas and forcefully dispersed protesters early Sunday.
Police moved in after a group of protesters tried to pull down a fence erected around a federal courthouse.
Portland has taken center stage for the highly controversial crackdown by federal agents ordered by Trump – one that is not supported by local officials, and which many say smacks of authoritarianism.
Saturday’s demonstration began peacefully, with crowds playing music and dancing, blowing soap bubbles and attaching red roses to the barricades.
But it ended – like many before it – with tear gas fired after protesters attached ropes to barricades surrounding the city’s courthouse in an attempt to pull them down.
Portland police declared the area a riot, ordering protesters to leave, before they were joined by federal officers to clear the area.
Portland police earlier confirmed a man was stabbed, with the suspect ‘held down by protesters’ before he was detained by officers and charged with assault, according to a statement.
The victim was transported to hospital with a serious injury.
The inspector general of the US Justice Department on Thursday opened an official investigation into the federal crackdown, but an Oregon federal judge on Friday rejected a legal bid by the state to stop agents from detaining protesters.
Trump last week announced a ‘surge’ of federal agents to crime hotspots including Chicago, following an increase in violence in the nation’s third-largest city.
Federal authorities said agents deployed there would partner with local law enforcement, not serve as riot-control forces as seen in Portland.