We want to give you an update on the shooting incident that occurred last night july 25th at 9. 51 pm. This incident, as you know, occurred in the 300 block of congress avenue and resulted in the death of one individual. We can confirm the identity of the deceased as a mr garrett foster a 28 year old white male, and this incident again occurred last night at 9. 51 pm during the protest march in the 300 block of congress avenue during the march nearby officers reported hearing two separate volleys of gunfire in the area of the protest. Austin 911 also received multiple calls of shots fired in the 300 block of congress avenue officers working. The protest immediately moved up and observed, mr foster with multiple gunshot wounds. Austin police officers began resuscitation efforts and austin fire arrived on scene and continued these efforts. Austin travis county ems transported mr foster to dale seton medical center, where he succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced deceased at 10, 25 pm among the callers to austin 9 1 1 was a subject who stated they had just been involved in a shooting and driven Away from the scene, the caller stated they had shot, someone who had approached the driver’s window of their vehicle and pointed a rifle at them. The caller was instructed to pull over and officers would be dispatched officers located and brought the caller to the homicide office.

To be interviewed, the handgun and vehicle were secured as evidence at the scene of the shootings officers spoke with multiple witnesses that described several different versions of the incident.

Witnesses reported a disturbance began when a vehicle started honking its horn, as it turned southbound onto congress from 4th street the vehicle stopped, as there were a large number of people in the roadway, mr foster, who was holding an ak 47 type assault. Rifle approached the driver’s side window, as others in the crowd began. Striking the vehicle gunshots were fired from inside the vehicle at mr foster. During the initial investigation of this incident appear, it appears that mr foster may have pointed his weapon at the driver of this vehicle. Prior to being shot after the first volley of gunfire, another individual reported hearing the gunshots and observed the vehicle driving away from the crowd. This individual drew their concealed handgun and fired multiple shots at the vehicle as it drove away. That subject was also brought to the homicide office to be interviewed, mr foster’s rifle, and this subject’s handgun were also secured as evidence, homicide, detectives and crime scene specialists arrived to process. The scene detectives are reviewing available video photos and witness statements to determine the precise actions of those involved. Our investigators consulted through the night with the travis county district attorney’s office and will continue to coordinate this investigation with them. Both individuals have been released pending further investigation, and both individuals did possess.

A concealed handgun license. The travis county medical examiner’s office will be conducting an autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of death. It is important that the community come forward and help us with this investigation and, as such, our detectives are asking anyone with video or photos of this incident to call apd homicide at 512.

974 tips, the crime, stoppers anonymous tip line at 512, 472 8477, or to use the new crime stoppers app or email apd homicide at homicide.apd at austintexas.gov. You may remain anonymous and you can also submit tips by downloading apd’s mobile app on iphone and android. It is very important if you have video, if you have pictures, if you have information that you come forward and provide that to us, so that that will be included in this ongoing investigation. I want to take a moment to highlight the actions of our officers. Last night, yet again, the men and women of the austin police department ran towards danger. As soon as the shots were fired, our officers were working their way through the crowd, finding the victim and providing life saving measures, regardless of the incident, regardless of the crowd. Our officers each day show up and they put their lives on the line, helping others and that’s what happened last night, regardless of the topic of the protest, whether the protest is geared at these officers, whether they were earlier in the evening taking insults from these individuals.

These officers put all of that aside as they do every single day and they ran towards the danger and helped this individual, but unfortunately were unable to save his life. And that is the work that the men and women of the austin police department do day in and day out. That so often goes unnoticed, and i want to highlight this again because in these difficult times, as we’re all working to try and improve relationships, i do think it’s important to highlight the great work that the men and women of apd are doing even under these very Difficult circumstances they were present throughout the evening.

They were actually following this march and were in a position, as i said earlier, when the shots rang out to immediately respond. One of the difficulties is a new tactic that we’ve noticed. Some of the protest marches are using is putting vehicles behind the marching, uh protesters to keep officers further back or to interfere with officers that may be trying to reach the crowd. Although it didn’t create a significant delay last night, when the shots rang out and the vehicle that was monitoring and following the march tried to move up to uh get involved, one of the vehicles that was trailing, the protest ended up blocking them and getting in the Way for a brief moment and slowed down their response. So again, our officers are doing everything we can do to allow these protests to allow these marches to take place and to do so in a way that is as safe as possible and let people exercise their right to free speech.

But we need everyone involved to help us in this endeavor. This is the 28th homicide in austin this year, an increase of well over 70 percent in the homicide rate this year. Our aggravated assaults are up 14 and our robberies are up 16. We are seeing a significant increase in violent crime this year, and this is very important as we engage in community conversations about policing and the future of policing that we ensure that we do keep in mind that one of the key functions of a police department is The safety of our community and combating violent crime, and even at our current staffing levels, we’re facing significant challenges in this area.

So again we are heartbroken over the loss of mr foster last night. It is actively being investigated and uh ongoing in conjunction with the travis county district attorney’s office. That is the information that we have at this preliminary point in the investigation and i’m going to open it up for questions here in a moment, but, as is typical, there’s, probably not a lot of additional information we can put out at this point, since we are Still only 24 hours into this investigation roughly so with that, i will open it up for any questions. Chief chief is tony plahetsky here. Can you hear me yeah? I can hear you tony uh, so so people are just still a little hazy about this, and so i want to try to help clear it up is the indication that the man in the car was the first person to fire a weapon based on what we Know right now, that is what we believe.

We believe that, as he turned on to congress avenue and as you can see in the videos as the crowd surrounds his vehicle and as uh, 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. Thank you tony. Can you meet your mic? Please sorry! This is tahara with kxan. I was wondering. Do you have a rough estimate of how many officers were on the ground last night, just monitoring the protests? That is information.

We can get you in a follow up question depending upon the night of the week and the events that we anticipate based on what we see on social media or that we’re made aware of we adjust our scheduling for that. I do know. Last night we had the mounted control, which is a critical element in the austin police department, for crowd, control endeavors, along with metro tactical teams and downtown officers that were monitoring these activities. But in our special response team, as well for a specific number to follow up with you, this is a danny davis, the austin american statesman. Is there any indication about what the car was doing in the first place? Was it trying to get around? Was it trying to drive into the protest? Is there any indication about the car itself that information is specific to the investigation and we’re not going to release anything that the driver told us at this point about why he was there and what he was doing? I think everyone has probably seen the video that’s circulating on social media that actually shows and make that turn onto congress and uh pull into that crowd and then immediately be surrounded by it is the suspect in custody, or was he ever taken into custody, both individuals That fired weapons last night were detained, brought to police headquarters and interviewed by homicide, detectives and again in consultation and working with the travis county district attorney’s office.