Individuals carrying concealed handguns unholstered and brandished their firearms this week during racial justice protests in Eugene, Or., and Austin, Tx.
In Eugene, the standoff ended without injury or shots fired, but the Austin incident resulted in one fatality. Both confrontations involved individuals who were attempting to drive cars through Black Lives Matter protests but were stopped and approached by protesters. In both incidents, the protesters were holding firearms as well.
In Austin, a 28-year-old white man named Garrett Foster was shot and killed after he allegedly approached a vehicle that had been stopped during a protest. Foster was participating in the protest and carrying an AK-47.
The driver of the car, who fired five rounds from his vehicle, claimed that Foster had pointed his rifle at him. Austin police chief Brian Manley told reporters on Sunday that as the driver turned a corner, a crowd of protesters surrounded the vehicle and began striking the car.
“His account is that Mr. Foster pointed the weapon directly at him and he fired his handgun at Mr. Foster,” the chief said of the driver.
The driver’s name has not been released, but police say he called 911 shortly after the incident and is cooperating with the investigation. He is also licensed to carry a handgun in Texas.
Eyewitnesses interviewed by the New York Times claim that Foster did not raise his rifle but did approach the vehicle.
In a livestream of the incident posted on Facebook, a car’s horn can be heard honking while somebody yells, “Everybody back up!” As protesters converge on the vehicle, five shots can be heard.
An additional three shots follow shortly after, which police say were somebody else firing at the fleeing vehicle. Police say that individual has been apprehended and is cooperating with the investigation.
Another tense standoff occurred in Eugene, Or., between an armed driver and Black Lives Matter protesters, but “cooler heads prevailed” and no one was injured, according to Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner.
As in Austin, a driver was attempting to drive through a street that had been blocked by protesters. He began to exchange words with the people in the street, and he at one point opened his door and pulled out his handgun. Then, one of the protesters pulled out his own handgun, and the men pointed their firearms at each other.
“We had a hasty team on our way to deal with that because it looked like it could have gone bad in a hurry,” Skinner said. “Cooler heads prevailed and the truck ended up leaving. We had guns pointed at each other on both sides, and so at that point in the protest with the number of people around, trying to be strategic about how we get in there to deal with it is a tough one. And then he drove off.”
In a video of the incident posted on Reddit, protesters can be heard yelling at the man in the truck to go home while the driver yells at the protesters to move. The man opens his door and points what looks like a 1911 at one of the protesters.
He soon closes his door and begins to drive away, but proceeds straight through the intersection while protesters yell at him to turn right (where it looks like the other traffic had been directed). His truck is again stopped by protesters, but this time one of them has a handgun trained on the driver. The pair point their guns at each other for about 20 seconds until the driver finally closes his door and drives away.
Truck driver pulls a gun on protesters then one of the protester points a gun at him from r/PublicFreakout
Another higher-quality video from a different angle shows the men exchanging words while aiming at one another.
Damn.. how did this end? Eugene Oregon pic.twitter.com/syLnA5cQDY— DanielNewmaη 404-737-1636 (@DanielNewman) July 26, 2020