AUSTIN, Texas - The families and supporters of Alex Gonzales and Garrett Foster held a news conference to announce the beginning of their united pursuit of justice for their loved ones.
Organizers of the group say they are asking for five demands:
- The arrest and conviction of the police officers
- No bail for those convicted
- The ending of slandering of victims of police and pro-police violence
- Financial coverage of all funeral costs, all legal fees, and financial reparations for every aspect of hardship associated with losing loved ones
- The conviction of Christopher Taylor and justice for Mike Ramos
The press conference was held at Gonzales's memorial at Wickersham Road.
WHO IS ALEX GONZALES?
Austin police say an off-duty APD officer, who was in his own car and not in uniform, was driving home. They say Gonzales allegedly cut him off and pointed a gun at him. The officer then allegedly shot at Gonzales, who had his girlfriend and baby also in the car.
Gonzales continued to drive southbound on Wickersham Lane before finally stopping against a curb. The officer stopped behind his vehicle and called 911.
APD says that on-duty officers arrived minutes later and captured the next portion of the incident on body-worn cameras. The footage shows the suspect vehicle stopped along the curb with the off-duty officer's personal vehicle behind it. The off-duty officer gave commands to the driver and as backup approached, they continued giving commands to the driver who was now outside the driver's side.
Despite verbal commands, the driver walked around the rear of the vehicle towards the passenger's side, says APD. The driver opened what appears to be the back-passenger door of the vehicle. As the driver reached into the vehicle, an on-duty officer fired at the driver who went down.
Elizabeth Gonzales, Alex's mother, said that her son never would have started any commotion. "He was a good sweet person," she said. She spoke to FOX 7 Austin in February 2021 and said that the events still leave her in disbelief. "When this happened, like my own world ended, my world stopped," she said. "Since that date, I can't move on. I won't move on until some justice has done for my son."
WHO IS GARRETT FOSTER?
In July 2020, Garrett Foster and his fiancee Whitney Mitchell were participating in a demonstration in downtown Austin. As protestors marched down Congress Avenue, passing 4th street, U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry turned south, onto Congress from 4th, driving into the crowd.
Perry’s attorney, Clint Broden says it was an accident. He says Perry, who is stationed at Fort Hood, was driving for Uber. Foster's family believes Perry drove the car into the crowd intentionally.
Austin Police say protestors began hitting Perry's car. Some protestors say Perry aggressively drove through the crowd, honking his horn. Foster, then approached Perry’s driver-side window with a rifle. He legally carried the gun. His mother says he carried it for protection at protests. Perry claims Foster raised the gun. The question of whether Foster raised his rifle has been at the center of an Austin Police investigation. Perry, drew a concealed handgun, and fatally shot Foster three times. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says witnesses described "several different versions of the incident."
"Garrett loved everybody. Garrett had a really special place in his heart for people who were excluded. He wanted everyone to feel included and equal," said his mother, Sheila Foster.