Yesterday (March 13), a motorist reportedly plowed into several vehicles and a crowd outside of a South By Southwest (SXSW) Tyler, the Creator concert in Austin, Texas, an incident which left two people dead and more than 20 others injured. The suspect in this incident has been identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, as per CNN.
Police Chief Art Acevedo, who spoke with CNN about the incident, said that the driver is set to face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault by vehicle. Capital murder is Texas’ highest offense punishable by the death penalty, CNN reports.
The two people who died in the incident have not been named by law enforcement officials. Acevedo says that they were a Dutch man on a bicycle and a local woman on a moped. MassiveMusic, a music agency, identified one of the people who died during the incident as its creative director, Steven Craenmehr.
“During the 8 years that Steven worked for MassiveMusic, we got to know him as an unstoppable force, full of life, love and laughter,” a MassiveMusic Facebook post says, according to CNN. “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.”
In initial reports, 23 people were injured and hospitalized. Dr. Christopher Ziebell, medical director at the University Medical Center Brackenridge emergency department, spoke with CNN about the incident, saying most of the victims were in their twenties and that many suffered multiple internal injuries.
Thursday evening, CNN reported that 15 of the 23 people had been released from the hospital. Initial reports indicated that five people suffered critical injuries in the incident. As of Thursday evening, two patients remained in critical condition, three in serious condition and three hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the news network. Ziebell championed the response efforts of Travis County paramedics, saying that they recently experienced a training session for a similar scenario.
SXSW Releases Statement Regarding The Vehicular Incident
SXSW responded to this incident with the following statement on its website.
“The SXSW staff is stunned and deeply moved by the events of last night.
Dozens of us were on the scene when the incident occurred and we worked closely with APD to create a perimeter around the area, turning back all the visitors spilling out of the clubs who headed north on Red River Street.
To avoid confusion we plan to carry on with our scheduled daytime events at the Austin Convention Center in order to serve our tens of thousands of participants during this tragic time.
All of the SXSW staff and volunteers reported for their regular duties this morning and will continue working today on the event.
We are contacting all of the venues to find out if they have made any decisions about their operations that might impact our visitors.
Despite all of our preparations for dealing with a major incident during SXSW, nothing could really prepare us for how this feels. As much as we would like to go home and spend time absorbing the shock of this horrific event, we feel our best use is to continue to operate today.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of the fatalities.
Witnesses can contact APD 512-974-5186
Check on a loved one. Red Cross will have list by 1pm 800-928-4271