Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, was named by the Austin Statesmen in Texas as the suspect in the fatal DWI crash that killed two people and injured dozens more at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
The tragedy occurred around 12:30 a.m. on March 13 on Red River Street in the city. The street had been closed off to traffic during the festival and was packed with pedestrians.
He has been booked at Travis County Jail.
Here’s what we know about him:
1. Owens Was Tasered as He Tried to Escape Cops on Foot
He was tasered at the scene and taken into custody shortly after the crash. After his arrest, he was taken to the same hospital as the victims where he was treated for minor injuries and released into police custody.
According to The Statesman, Owens is from Killeen, Texas, about 70 miles north of Austin.
— Michael Pilla (@michaelpilla) March 13, 2014
Owens was originally stopped by a patrol car. After being pulled over, he fled cops, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, hitting a parked van and a taxi. Eventually, he ended up on Red River Street outside the Mohawk nightclub where scores of people were waiting to go in to to see Tyler the Creator. After colliding with people, the suspect left his car, and cops gave chase on foot, finally subduing him.
2. He Has a String of Previous Convictions
According to mySanAntonio.com, Owens was convicted of a DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in November 2011 in Fairbanks, Alaska. There was an active warrant out for his arrest at the time of the SXSW crash.
Court records from Alaska show a Rashad Owens, whose age matches the SXSW suspect, having three arrests.
One for a DUI in October 2011:
One for underage consumption of alcohol in November 2011, which was dismissed by prosecution:
One for property damage from May 2012. That case is classified as “open”:
According to Austin Statesman’s reporter Philip Jankowski, Owens has a criminal trespass charge from October 2012.
On Spokeo, a Rashad Owens is listed as having lived here in Fairbanks, Alaska:
3. He Has 6 Kids
In an interview with The Austin Statesmen, Owen’s unnamed grandmother said, “He is good. He is so good. … Whatever happened was out of his control, I am sure.” The woman said that he is a father to toddler son. His Facebook page shows multiple photos of him with children and with a pregnant woman. In total, his brother, Lamar, said that he is six kids in total.
His grandmother also said that he frequently visited her in South Carolina, most recently for his 21st birthday. “I just don’t know what happened,” she added.
According to his grandmother, Owens lived and went to high school in Killeen, Texas, but was born in South Carolina.
On his Facebook page, Owens says that he went to Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, between 2012 and 2014, where he studied music production. It also says that he graduated Robert M. Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas. While in Alaska, Owens says that he worked at a Subway restaurant. He also worked at McDonald’s for a time.
4. Owens Is Facing the Death Penalty
The suspect is charged with two counts of capital murder by terroristic threat. Owens is also charged with vehicular assault. A conviction of capital murder in Texas can result in a sentence of death or life without parole.
The two people dead in the crash have been identified as a man and a woman. The woman was on a moped and the man was on a bike. The male victim is from the Netherlands. The female victim is from Austin.
At a hospital press conference, Dr. Ziebrell told the media he was very concerned about the two critical-condition patients. He said they were among the worst kind of injuries he sees. Both have head trauma.
Another patient listed in serious condition is suffering from a spinal injuries. The doctor commented that all of the victims were in their 20s.
— Yo Gabba Gabba (@GabyInsanity) March 13, 2014
5. He Is an Aspiring Music Producer
According to his Facebook page, Owens is heavily involved in music. The grandmother’s interview in The Statesman refers to his career as a music producer.
You can listen to some of his beats here via his Soundcloud page:
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