UPDATE: The Austin-American Statesman has identified the suspect as Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen, Texas. Owens, 21, had been arrested several times in Alaska, where he currently has an active warrant for his arrest.
UPDATE: Reports coming from Pitchfork say that only one of the moped passengers was killed; the other remains in critical condition. The second victim, whose identity was revealed as Steve Craenmehr of Massive Music, was riding a bicycle when he was struck. Tonight’s showcases at the Mohawk have been cancelled, but other SXSW events are scheduled to go on.
Things took a tragic turn at South By Southwest in Austin after a driver plowed through a closed-off street in Austin, killing two and injuring several others. The unnamed driver is being held by Austin police and is suspected to have been intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The incident occurred at 12:30 central time last night at the corner of East 10th Street and Red River Street, near the famed Austin venue the Mohawk. The street was closed off to traffic for a House of Vans showcase. The showcase was still going on at the time of the incident, but a headlining set by rapper Tyler, The Creator was cancelled as a result.
Reports from Austin police say that the driver, a white male of unspecified age, led police on a chase while trying to avoid a DWI checkpoint in the city. The chase went through the pedestrian area, where the driver struck several pedestrians before hitting a taxi and a moped, killing both of the moped’s passengers. The driver then fled on foot before he was apprehended by police. According to Austin Police chief Art Acevedo, the driver will be charged with two counts of murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault.
SXSW organizers released the following statement in regards to the incident: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic accident that took place last night here in Austin. We appreciate and commend the first responders, as well as the city agencies who so quickly sprung into action. We will be making schedule and venue changes for programming in the surrounding area of last night’s events. All other programming will continue as previously scheduled.”
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Austin police at 512-974-5186.