Suspect in SXSW deadly crashes identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens

AUSTIN, Texas -- A 21-year-old man from Killeen, Texas, is being held in connection with the deaths of two people at the South by Southwest festival, authorities said Thursday.

Rashad Charjuan Owens was taken into custody Thursday morning and will face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault, according to a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department.

The suspect was first identified by the American-Statesman newspaper in Austin.

Police are expected to issue a formal statement on the charges shortly, the spokeswoman said.


Earlier, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the man will be charged in the incident that began at about 12:30 a.m. with a police stop at a sobriety checkpoint. The car fled, eventually hitting a bicyclist and a passenger on a moped. Twenty-three people were injured and five remained in at least critical condition as of Thursday afternoon.

One of the dead has been identified as an Austin woman.

The bicyclist was identified as Steven Craenmehr, 35, of the Amsterdam-based music booking and promotion agency MassiveMusic.

The company released a statement on its website this morning that read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our close friend and colleague Steven Craenmehr, 35, on March 13th, 2014 at SXSW. During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter.


“This is an irreplaceable loss for the MassiveMusic family and we are grateful for the years we spent with him. Our thoughts are with Steven’s family and friends.”

At the intersection of 9th and Red River streets, the street is blocked to traffic but the festival vibe has returned to normal.

A Ray Ban promotional booth is giving free haircuts to a crowd of shaggy hipsters. Crowds are stretching around the block by the MTVU Festival tent a few steps away.

At the scene where 23 people were injured in the street last night, now stylish bicycles are again locked to racks and buckets of beer sit outside chilling in ice tubs for concertgoers. A line of Vespa scooters is parked just up the street. At Mohawk, the closest club to the incident, posters still advertise sets by ASAP Mob, Cloud Nothings and Speedy Ortiz, though the venue is closed and quiet.


The only memorial so far is a small cluster of flowers laid at a telephone pole in front of Mohawk, still in their store wrappers.


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