The US Army sergeant who allegedly shot and killed Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster during a rally in Austin, Texas, is claiming he acted in self-defense and was working as a ride share driver at the time of the incident.
Sergeant Daniel Perry's lawyers have now identified him as the man who fired three shots at Foster after the BLM protester allegedly pointed his AK-47 at Perry while he drove his car into a hundred-strong crowd in Austin on the evening of July 25.
Foster, 28, a former US Air Force mechanic, was shot in front of his disabled fiancée Whitney Mitchell and later died in hospital from his injuries.
Although authorities have not named the shooting suspect, Dallas-based lawyer Clint Broden, of Broden & Micklsen, put out a press release Thursday night confirming that Perry, 33, was the shooter and claiming that he had acted in self-defense.
US Army sergeant Daniel Perry was identified by his lawyers as the man who shot Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster on July 25
Witnesses say Garrett Foster (left) died trying to protect his wheelchair-bound fiancee Whitney Mitchell (right) after a car drove at them during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin
According to the release, Perry - a former Eagle Scout from North Texas - is an active duty sergeant who has served in the military for the past eight years, during which he served a tour in Afghanistan and received 'numerous army awards and commendations.'
Perry's lawyers said that on the night of the shooting, Perry had been in Austin, earning extra money while driving for an unspecified ride share company.
Perry supposedly dropped off a customer near Congress Avenue before heading to a 'hot spot' to wait for his next customer or a food delivery pickup order.
During the drive to the hot spot, the lawyer said, Perry turned right into a 'throng of people in the street.'
'Prior to arriving at the corner of Fourth Street and Congress Avenue, Sgt. Perry did not know that a demonstration was taking place,' according to the press release.
Several people then 'started beating on his vehicle.'
'An individual carrying an assault rifle, now known to be Garrett Foster, quickly approached the car and then motioned with the assault rifle for Mr. Perry to lower his window,' the lawyer wrote.
'Sgt. Perry initially believed the person was associated with law enforcement and complied with the command. After rolling down the window, it became apparent to Sgt. Perry that the individual with the assault rifle was not with law enforcement.'
DailyMail.com reveal the man who shot dead a Black Lives Matter protester is 33-year-old Daniel Perry (pictured). Austin police said they interviewed Perry who had turned himself in after fleeing the scene and was later released claiming he acted in self defense
Moment Garrett Foster aims rifle at car during BLM protest - Suspect Daniel Perry who drove at a crowd of BLM protesters and shot dead a demonstrator is released from custody after claiming self defense saying he fired when man aimed rifle at his car as wheelchair-bound fiancée of victim chokes back tears at vigil
Perry is a staunch Trump supporter, according to his social media, and tweeted at the president last month to send protesters to Texas to 'show them why we say don't mess with Texas'
The press release said that several witnesses have confirmed that Foster 'began to raise the assault rifle toward Sgt. Perry.'
The move, apparently, led to Perry firing his handgun - which he carried 'for his own protection while driving strangers in the ride share program' - at Foster 'to protect his own life.'
'Immediately after Sgt. Perry fired on the individual who raised the assault rifle toward him, a member of the crowd began firing on Sgt. Perry’s vehicle,' the release stated.
'Sgt. Perry drove to safety and immediately called the police. He waited for the police to arrive and fully cooperated with the police following the shooting and he continues to do so.'
Perry's legal team disputed claims that they said had been reported in the media.
'First, Sgt. Perry never left his vehicle preceding or immediately following the shooting. Second, Sgt. Perry did not "flee" but immediately called police upon getting to safety. Finally and most importantly, police have interviewed witnesses who were demonstrating with Mr. Foster and these witnesses have confirmed that Mr. Foster raised his assault rifle in a direct threat to Sgt. Perry’s life,' the release said.
Perry is pictured in his mugshot. He claimed he fired his handgun after Foster pointed his assault rifle at his car. He turned himself in after fleeing the scene and was released while the investigation is ongoing
Perry and his family 'deeply sympathize with the loss and grief being experienced by Mr. Foster’s family' and he is 'devastated by what happened,' the lawyer said.
The press release concluded with Perry's legal team asking that people not rush to judgment against their client: 'We simply ask that anybody who might want to criticize Sgt. Perry’s actions, picture themselves trapped in a car as a masked stranger raises an assault rifle in their direction and reflect upon what they might have done if faced with the split second decision faced by Sgt. Perry that evening.'
The US Army has confirmed that Perry is an active-duty soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he has been based since 2018, according to KXAN.
It's unclear which ride share company Perry might've been driving for the night of the shooting, but Lyft told the news station that he is not one of their stable of drivers.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Uber.
Both Lyft and Uber have a no firearm policy while drivers are on duty.
DailyMail.com previously unearthed disturbing social media posts which 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.
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 gunman 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.
The 28-year-old former Air Force mechanic later died in the hospital from his injuries after being shot in front of his fiancee. The couple are pictured at the protest with Foster holding an AK-47
On June 3 this year, Perry wrote about killing someone with a firearm and days earlier said it was 'time to take up arms and protect yourselves against violence'
In one tweet Perry calls Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden a 'pedo'
Perry, who served multiple tours in the Middle East, posted a picture of himself with other servicemen helping fight a bushfire last October. Perry is currently posted to Fort Hood, the Army's premier installation to train and deploy heavy forces
Perry identified himself as Jewish and in another tweet said the Democratic party use 'media mind control' and 'hate Jews and whites'
Perry posted this photo of himself to Twitter captioned #wolfslair. According to court records Perry was arrested and charged with 'assault causes actual bodily injury' on a family member in November, 2005
Perry retweeted this graph just last month heaping praise on Donald Trump while bashing Barack Obama as president
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.'
On Facebook the soldier is seen smiling in family photos, with his parents and two siblings, including at his younger brother's college graduation
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. He's pictured in a group photo with his parents and siblingssonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Daniel Perry (left) is pictured with his siblings. His sister Emily posted in support of the BLM movement
Perry's sister appears to have different views than her murder. 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'
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,