Garrett Foster’s mom says her 28-year-old son spent his final moments pushing disabled fiancée Whitney Mitchell’s wheelchair before he was fatally shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.
Per the Austin Police Department, Garrett was shot three times on Saturday by an unnamed driver who drove their vehicle toward protesters. Foster was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Garrett’s mother Sheila Foster said Garrett and Whitney, a quadruple amputee, had been attending local demonstrations in the past few weeks.
“They’ve been participating in these protests almost every day for the past 50 days," she said.
Sheila also said that moments before the shooting, Garrett was pushing Mitchell’s wheelchair through an intersection when the suspect was driving “erratically” through the crowd.
“And this gentleman got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times,” she added.
Fortunately, Whitney was not injured in the incident.
Following the shooting, authorities say the driver called 911 and told dispatchers they left the scene, claiming that they shot someone who had approached their window and pointed a rifle at them.
“[The driver’s] account is that Mr. Foster pointed the weapon directly at him and he fired his handgun at Mr. Foster,” Brian Manley, Austin’s police chief, told reporters on Sunday.
Police also say another person pulled out a handgun and shot at the vehicle as it sped away.
Manley says that both the driver and the other person who fired a weapon were detained and interviewed by detectives. The chief adds that both parties had state-issued handgun licenses and have since been released.
Per The New York Times, Garrett attended the protest carrying an AK-47 rifle that was draped on a strap.
“They don’t let us march in the streets anymore, so I got to practice some of our rights,” Garrett told journalist Hiram Gilberto Garcia, who was broadcasting the interview live on Periscope. “If I use it against the cops, I’m dead.”
Sheila told “GMA” that her son had “a license to carry,” and “would’ve felt the need to protect himself.”
“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 fiancée,” Sheila continued about her son’s activism.
On Sunday, a GoFundMe page titled “Official Garrett Foster Memorial Fund” was set up to pay for Garrett’s funeral costs. As of this writing, it has raised over $100,000.
Per the page, organizer Patricia Kirven said Garrett and Whitney “fell in love at 17 and were never apart.”
“A great person was taken away from his fiancée, his mother, father, siblings, and a host of loving family members. He fought against injustice, served in the military, and was fiercely protective of his fiancée,” Kirven wrote. “We appreciate all the love, support, and compassion during this emotional time.”
Our condolences go out to the Foster and Mitchell families for their tragic loss.