This is the gunman who shot and killed Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster during a rally in Austin, Texas last Saturday night, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
DailyMail.com has learned serving Army Sergeant Daniel Perry fired three shots at Foster after the Air Force veteran pointed an AK-47 at him as he drove his car into a hundred-strong crowd.
Disturbing social media posts unearthed by DailyMail.com paint a troubling picture of the 33-year-old career soldier.
The fervent Trump supporter wrote about ‘deadly force’ against ‘the mobs’ and posted online about how to kill someone with a firearm just last month.
Foster, it’s believed, confronted Perry who was driving a black Hyundai Elantra and was gunned down in front of his disabled fiancée Whitney Mitchell.
The 28-year-old former Air Force mechanic later died in hospital from his injuries.
DailyMail.com has pieced together the aftermath of the shooting and has learned Perry called 911 immediately after the incident at 10pm Saturday before pulling his car over a short distance down the road on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.
He switched on his hazard lights, put his handgun in the glove compartment and directed police officers to his location.
Police later said the man, who they have not identified, admitted shooting Foster but said he acted in self-defense after a rifle was pointed at him.
Perry was taken to the Austin PD’s homicide office and questioned but later released without charge, according to a statement released by police.
It’s understood the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) was also notified.
Perry’s car and gun were secured as evidence pending further investigation, according to the statement.
DailyMail.com visited Perry’s rundown apartment in Killeen, Texas – a short distance from the massive Fort Hood Army post where he serves.
The apartment building is filled with serving military personnel where units rent for just over $700 a month.
Neighbors said they hadn’t seen Perry in a couple of days but a pair of muddy field boots were sat outside his door and a slip from his landlord notifying him his rent was due was posted outside.
One neighbor confirmed Perry was an E-5 Army Sergeant and that he lived with a roommate.
Heavy metal loving Perry is a comic book and video game fan who also likes to hunt and fish and his family is based in Dallas,Texas.
On Facebook the soldier is seen smiling in family photos, with his parents and two siblings, including at his younger brother’s college graduation.
Perry, wearing a traditional Cavalry Stetson, is seen with his arm around his younger brother David as he graduated in full garb from the University of North Texas.
But away from family life DailyMail.com has also uncovered disturbing details about Perry’s past.
According to court records Perry was arrested and charged with ‘assault causes actual bodily injury’ on a family member in November, 2005.
Perry was slapped with 15 months community supervision over the misdemeanor offense, following which the charge was dismissed.
Also in a foreshadowing of the shooting last Saturday, the soldier’s social media posts make for uncomfortable reading.
Perry tweeted about using ‘deadly force’ against ‘the mobs’ two years ago and was even posting online about how to kill someone with a firearm just last month.
Replying to a tweet by conservative talk show host Michael Savage in October 2018, the US Army officer wrote: ‘My greatest fear is when the mobs attack an armed individual doesn’t matter if the person is left or the person is right and that deadly force is used resulting in either extreme mass hysteria or the mobs stopping.’
Replying to a now-deleted tweet by user ‘Breaking911’ on June 3 this year, Perry wrote about killing someone with a firearm.
‘F**k that s**t you shoot center of mass,’ he wrote. ‘1 it is a bigger target. 2 it still drops them. 3 even if you shoot them in the leg there is a major artery that will cause the person to bleed out in just a few minutes.’
A month earlier he tweeted at the same user saying ‘Now is the time to take up arms and protect yourselves against violence.’
And on June 19 when Donald Trump tweeted a warning to protesters they would be treated differently in Oklahoma to New York or Seattle, Perry tweeted at the president: ‘Send them to Texas we will show them why we say don’t mess with Texas.’
Registered Republican Perry’s online posts reveal he is an ardent Trump supporter and a fierce critic of the Democrats.
In one tweet he calls Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden a ‘pedo’, and in another he likened Democrats to Nazis, claiming the party use ‘media mind control’ and ‘hate Jews and whites’.
His Twitter account, ‘knivesfromtrigu’, is a reference to Millions Knives, a character from Japanese cartoon Trigun.
The soldier also follows several anime Twitter accounts and paid tribute to Marvel comic book legend Stan Lee upon his death..
Perry, who served multiple tours in the Middle East, posted a picture of himself with other servicemen helping fight a bushfire last October, and shared pictures near one of his postings at a US military base in Vilseck, Germany in May 2018.
He is currently posted to Fort Hood, the Army’s premier installation to train and deploy heavy forces.
It’s believed the soldier also served with 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, B Company out of Fort Lewis, Washington and has been stationed to Canada in the past.
While Perry spoke out against the mobs, his family don’t share the same political views as him.
His sister Emily Austin Atkins posted in support of the BLM movement.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘If you don’t think there is racism in this country and truly believe that everyone is currently on a ‘level playing field’ – you are a part of the problem.’
The mother of Garret Foster’s fiancée Whitney Mitchell told DailyMail.com that she was trying to ‘hang in there’.
‘She’s trying to hang in there, it’s traumatizing for her,’ said Patricia Kirven, 54.
‘Garrett was her fiancé, he took care of her, but we’ve got a big family network, there’s a ton of people here to support her, we’ve always been there, so she’s gonna be okay.’
A photograph circulating on social media on Monday shows Foster standing at the driver’s window moments before the fatal shots rang out. The barrel of his AK-47 appears to be pointing towards the floor, however he is leaning towards the car with right arm raised and his hand seemingly placed around the weapon’s grip.
Police released Perry as they continue their investigation.
‘We are heartbroken over the loss of Mr. Foster last night,’ Austin Police Chief Brain Manley told reporters Sunday. ‘It is actively being investigated and ongoing in conjunction with the Travis County district attorney’s office.’
Officers also brought in a second gunman who shot at the car as it sped off. Both of the suspects’ have a license to carry and both of their guns were seized for evidence, Manly said.
Foster had been crossing 4th Street on Congress Avenue with his wheel-chair bound fiancee Whitney Mitchell, 28, and hundreds of other demonstrators when a motorist sped towards the crowd and began blaring its horn.
Protesters – who have been marching for 60 days – say the car swerved towards them and Foster has jumped in front of Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, fearing she was a target.
Police declined to say why the driver was where he was and whether his intent was nefarious. Witnesses told the Austin American-Statesman that the car sped through the protesters before it apparently hit an orange barrier and came to a stop.
The majority of the demonstrators scattered, however Foster, who was dressed in a military green T-shirt, baseball cap, bandanna, and wielding an AK-47, approached the driver’s side window.
Within a matter of seconds, the driver of the car aimed his handgun out of the window and fired five shots before speeding away from the scene, leaving Foster to bleed out in the street.
Perry reportedly called 911 as he fled, telling dispatchers he had ‘just been involved in a shooting and driven away.’
Foster, who previously worked as a flight mechanic in the Air Force after enlisting as a teen, began dating Mitchell about ten years ago. The couple first met in an online chat room and became engaged a year later.
The following month, Mitchell was struck down by a mysterious illness and later had to have all four of her limbs amputated following sepsis.
Foster had to leave for basic training two months later but was discharged from the Air Force, aged 19, to become her full time carer.
‘That time when he was gone [for basic training] was so detrimental to both of them, because they were very much in love, and he had cared for her so well,’ his aunt Karen Sourber told USA Today. ‘He’s been her primary caretaker ever since. He just loved her unconditionally and took care of everything.’
Hundreds gathered at the scene of the shooting on Sunday evening to mourn Foster’s death in a vigil led by Mitchell.
Marchers chanted ‘say his name, Garrett Foster’ and raised their fists in a silent tributes during the vigil, KVUE reported.
Mitchell, who had been engaged to Foster since she was 18, closed her eyes as she held back her emotions and was comforted by other members of the crowd.
Some people embraced and wept as marchers blocked off streets with bikes and cones, and began directing traffic away.
Others carried signs reading ‘rest in power Garrett Foster’ and ‘justice for Garrett’. They were laid at the spot where he died, along with candles and flowers.
Following the vigil, the sea of protesters made their way to the Texas State Capitol to finish the march that had been disrupted the night before.
Foster was originally from Plano but had been living with Mitchell in Austin for the last two years. His mother Sheila said her son had been participating in the Black Lives Matter protests for more than 50 days in support of Mitchell, who is African-American.
She added: ‘He was doing it because he felt really strongly about justice and he was very heavily against police brutality.’
Crediting her late son as ‘one of the best young men you would ever know’, Shelia also tearfully recounted the unconditional love Foster had for Mitchell.
‘I saw my son at 19 years old brush this girl’s teeth, comb her hair. He would put her on the toilet and clean her up, and he would make sure that she got bathed and make sure that she was able to get dressed and took her everywhere that she needed to go. And he’s been doing that ever since,’ Sheila told GMA.
‘On top of grieving for my son, I worry about Whitney. Because who’s going to do that for her now?’ she continued. ‘She just lost the love of her life, because somebody just randomly fired shots and killed my son. And I don’t mean to say that anybody else’s life is less valuable. I don’t believe that. But I don’t know why it had to be my son.’
The couple were planning on getting married, but were waiting until Mitchell mastered her prosthetics before they walked down the aisle.
Mitchell’s mother, Patricia Kirven, told the Dallas Morning News she warned her daughter about going to the protests, because she was ‘afraid something would happen.’
‘She physically is OK, but mentally she is not. ‘Inconsolable’ is the only word I can think of, because she’ll talk for a bit and then break down,’ Kirven added.
Foster often went armed to protests, which is common at protests in Texas because it is an open-carry state.
Before he was fatally shot, Foster was seen speaking to local media about why he was carrying his AK-47.
In video shot by a local independent journalist, he says: ‘They don’t let us march in the streets anymore so gotta practice some of our rights.’