GRAPHIC: Austin, Texas, protester shot and killed

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 8:13 AM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN/CNN) - Protesters took to downtown Austin streets again Sunday night, this time in memory of Garrett Foster, 28, one of their own who was shot and killed at a Black Lives Matter protest Saturday night.

Family members and friends of Garrett Foster are sharing a GoFundme page - with a photo of him and his fiancée.

James Sasinowski, who was a speaker at Saturday evening’s protest and spoke with the couple, said Foster was seen pushing his fiancée in her wheelchair during the protests most nights this summer.

“Kind of hard to miss dude pushing a quadriplegic in a wheelchair with I believe an AK-47, some kind of large rifle on his body,” Sasinowski said.

He said he was marching near the couple when a black car, seen in witness video, turned into a crowd of protesters.

"I was kind of looking forward and back over my shoulder, and while I was looking forward was when I heard the first shot," Sasinowski said.

He said when he looked back, he saw the driver of the car’s arm sticking out the window “holding a handgun in his hand, in his left hand, and I saw two or three rounds get fired and the flashes on the top of the slide into the crowd.”

Sasinowski says he didn’t see Foster fire his weapon. He recalls seeing the driver speed off before hearing three more shots.

“I look back, and we all kind of collectively see Garrett, we see Garrett on the ground in the middle of the road in like the fetal position with a pool of blood next to him, and I saw his face,” Sasinowski said. “I don’t know how far away I was from Garrett. It felt like I was right there. He was just trying to hold on to his life.”

"It's just a tragic event," said Mark Bay, who said he's attended about a dozen protests. "I'm here to show solidarity for the movement that he died for and also to remember him and to continue the fight."

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said just before 10 p.m., a car turned onto Congress Avenue, approaching a crowd of protesters.

“As the crowd surrounds his vehicle, and as some of the protesters are striking his vehicle, his account is that Mr. Foster pointed the weapon directly at him, and he fired his handgun at Mr. Foster,” he said.

Manley said Foster may have pointed his weapon toward the driver but believes Foster did not shoot. He also says the suspect called himself in.

“Among the callers to Austin 911 was a subject to stated they had just been involved in a shooting and drinking away from the scene,” he said.

Manley says the suspect has been released pending further investigation.

Bay said the gun violence concerns him, but not enough to keep him home.

“You always have to consider risks when you come to a protest or do anything. It’s not just this, it’s COVID, too, but I think the cause is worth it. I really believe in racial equality. I really believe in justice for all, so I’m going to continue protesting,” he said.

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