By Mike Talavera
Since US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry was exposed as the murderer of anti-racist activist Garrett Foster, former classmates and fellow soldiers of Perry’s have come forward with details of his racist and anti-social past.
Desera, Perry’s former classmate, trained with him in the ROTC program at R. L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas. During this time, Perry regularly used racial slurs for Black and Asian people, despite being repeatedly reprimanded by teachers and administrators.
Desera told Tribune that finding out Perry was behind Garrett’s murder was startling, but not totally unexpected based on his violent outbursts in school. “I was surprised that it was someone that I know, but I wasn’t necessarily surprised that it was him,” she said.
Another ROTC classmate of Perry’s, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Perry did not have many social skills and would constantly instigate fights while in school. “This guy would fly into the face of conflict just to start shit,” he said.
This classmate said that he did not buy the “self-defense” argument presented by Perry’s attorneys, who have used it to explain why he killed Garrett. Perry had accelerated into a Portland Solidarity protest in downtown Austin on July 25 when he shot Garrett multiple times out of the car window.
“[Perry] rolled down the window with the intent to shoot,” he said. “He doesn’t back down from what he perceives as an antagonistic threat. That’s how it would happen in school.”
When shown a picture of a man who harassed people at Garrett’s memorial the day after the shooting, both former classmates confirmed that it resembled Perry. “The things that the guy said he was saying, I could see [Perry] saying because of his volatile nature,” Desera said.
One Twitter user claiming to have served with Perry in the US Army said that he was “the worst soldier I had ever served with.”
“The fact that he was ever give a firearm is beyond me,” the tweet reads.
Others online have speculated as to why Perry has remained a Sergeant after years of service, with some hypothesizing that his anti-social behavior may have resulted in disciplinary action and delays in promotion.
Perry is currently stationed at Fort Hood, a base notorious for its hyper-violent culture, especially towards women, such as in the murder of Vanessa Guillén.
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