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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
8 Apr 2023

NextImg:US Army Sergeant Found Guilty of Murder in 2020 Shooting of Gun-Wielding Protester

A jury on April 7 convicted a U.S. Army sergeant who shot dead a man wielding a gun at him during a protest in 2020.

Sgt. Daniel Perry, working for Uber, traveled to Austin in July 2020 for work. A Black Lives Matter protest was happening the same night. Perry, after turning down a street, found himself surrounded by protesters.

Garrett Foster, one of the armed protesters, was openly carrying an AK-47. According to Perry, Foster motioned with his gun for Perry to lower his window. Perry fired after Foster began to raise the rifle toward Perry, defense lawyers said, consistent with what Perry told police officers after he turned himself in.

Several witnesses who testified during the trial said Foster was holding his rifle “almost parallel to the ground,” Clint Broden, a defense lawyer, said during the trial, KTBC-TV reported. Several witnesses said that Foster did not raise the rifle, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Guillermo Gonzalez, one of the prosecutors, said in closing arguments that Perry maliciously drove into a crowd of protesters and that Foster “had every right to go up to him and see what the heck was going on and he had every right to do it with a deadly weapon.” Doug O’Connell, a lawyer representing Perry, said that his client “had no choice” but to shoot Foster because he was under threat.

Prosecutors said Perry had other options such as driving away and that he meant harm to the protesters, while the sergeant’s defense team pointed to expert analysis that found he was slowing down when he encountered the protesters, who had been moving around the city on the night in question.

Austin police investigate a homicide shooting that occurred at a demonstration in Austin, Texas on July 25, 2020. (Stephen Spillman/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas law authorizes self-defense when a person “reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force” but the person who acts in self-defense is required to not have “provoked the person against whom the force is used.”

Perry was convicted of murder and acquitted of aggravated assault. He faces up to life in prison.

“I’m grateful to our dedicated career prosecutors and victims’ counselors who tried this case. They worked hard to make a complete and accurate presentation of the facts to the jury,” Travis County District Attorney José Garza, a Democrat who has received backing from billionaire George Soros through a political action committee, said in a statement. “Our hearts continue to break for the Foster family. We hope this verdict brings closure and peace to the victim’s family.”

O’Connell did not return a request for comment, including whether an appeal will be lodged.

Austin police had found that the shooting was a case of self-defense but it went to trial after a grand jury brought an indictment based on evidence presented by prosecutors. A motion to dismiss was thrown out even though it included an affidavit from David Fugitt, a detective who said that Garza’s office forced him to alter his testimony. District Judge Cliff Brown said he didn’t see anything that rose to the level of egregious conduct.