Armed protester killed while helping fiancée in wheelchair when shots fired, says mum

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The mum of a Black Lives Matter protester allegedly gunned down by a motorist who’d ploughed into demonstrators, said her son was pushing his quadruple-amputee fiancée’s wheelchair before he was killed.

Sheila Foster said she was told her son Garrett had been killed in a phone call from his fiancée’s mum after she added her on Facebook. 

Footage posted during a Facebook Live showed the moment when several shots rang out in Austin, Texas, on Saturday as about 100 people marched and chanted, “Fists up! Fight back!”

Austin police and emergency medical services said on Twitter that one person was killed during the shooting at around 10pm.

There were no other deaths or people shot, according to the EMS department.

Mr Foster was said to have pulled out a rifle and approached the driver at Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, at which point the motorist gunned him down, police said.

Prior to his death he had been interviewed on camera holding what appears to be an AK-47 assault rifle.

In one clip, he says: “They don’t let us march in the streets anymore so gotta practice some of our rights.”

While confirming her son did have a gun licence, Ms Foster said she understands he was helping partner Whitney Mitchell when he was shot.

“All I know is that my son and his fiancée were participating in a protest in downtown Austin and I got a friend reach out via Facebook asking me to call, it was Whitney’s mother, and when I called she told me he had been shot,” the devastated mum told ABC’s Good Morning America.

“They’d been participating in these protests almost every day for the past 50 days.”

She said last spoke to her son two days before he died and had been texting him on Saturday, prior to the protest.

“He has actually told me that they are extremely peaceful and he hadn’t experienced any of the negative stuff that we’re seeing sometimes on the media,” Ms Foster continued.

“He was doing it because he feels really strongly about justice and he’s very heavily against police brutality and he wanted to support his fiancee.”

Mr Foster and Miss Mitchell had been together since they were 17 and he “felt really strongly about the justice of everything”, she added.

Ms Foster said it “wouldn’t surprise” her if her son was carrying a firearm because he “would have felt the need to protect himself”.

She said she understands the lead up to his shooting was a “chaotic situation” with someone “driving erratically through the crowd”.

“People were getting out of the way and telling this gentleman to slow down and telling him to just stop driving because he was at risk of hitting someone.

“And from what I’m understanding, Garrett was pushing Whitney through an intersection and this gentleman got out of his car and started firing shots and my son was shot three times.”

Fighting back tears, she added Miss Mitchell “was not hurt”.

Mr Foster was rushed to Dell Seton Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Eyewitness Michael Capochiano told The Statesman people were surrounding the car and the driver pointed a gun out of the window and began firing.

He added, one protester “dropped to the ground when he got shot”.

Police confirmed the driver was in custody.

Protests against racism and police brutality were sparked worldwide following the May killing of African-American George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Mr Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him.

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