In July 2020, at the height of protests over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, Daniel Perry considered killing someone.
“I might have to kill a few people on my way to work, they are rioting outside my apartment complex,” Perry, then a 35-year-old Army sergeant, wrote to a friend, the Austin Chronicle reported. It wasn’t the first time Perry had spoken about killing people on social media or in messages with friends. On another occasion, Perry mused, “I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”
After all this talk, Perry did shoot a Black Lives Matter protester in downtown Austin, an Air Force veteran and libertarian activist named Garrett Foster, who had been legally carrying an AK-47 at the protest. Perry, who was working as a rideshare driver, sped his car into the crowd, witnesses said, then opened fire on Foster. Perry claimed that he had acted in self-defense and that Foster had been raising his rifle, but prosecutorial witnesses told the jury during his trial that Foster had done nothing of the sort. “I believe he was going to aim at me,” Perry told police in an initial interview, having called law enforcement and turned himself in after the shooting. “I didn’t want to give him a chance to aim at me.”