Rashad Charjuan Owens, the man charged with capital murder and is accused of plowing his car through SXSW early Thursday morning, leaving two people dead and 23 injured, is reportedly an aspiring rapper who was set to perform a late-night show in Austin.
Owens is currently in custody at the Travis County Jail held on a bond of $3 million. Other charges will be presented at the Travis County Grand Jury at a later date. The reason only one capital murder charge was filed is that "Texas State law requires two or more deaths in the same criminal transaction for the filing of a capital murder charge," according to a release put out by the police.
The two fatalities have been confirmed as Steven Craenmehr, 35, an Amsterdam-based employee of MassiveMusic, and Jamie Ranae West, 27, of Austin.
The names of the remaining three victims to be identified were also released, which are Gracie Nguyen, currently in serious condition, DeAndre Tatum and Sandy Le, who are both in critical condition. All three are at UMC Brackenridge Hospital.
Owans was set to play a 1 a.m. show at Club 1808 near 12th and Chicon Streets, his brother told the Austin American-Statesman. Owens, 21, raps under the name KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254. He has music posted on SoundCloud under the latter monicker.
According to the arrest warrant, Owens told police that he "got scared" when he saw police lights behind him around 12:30 a.m. Thursday because outstanding warrants meant he could go to prison for five years. Owens told police he's facing old kidnapping warrants issued as part of a custody battle over his daughter.
A breath test indicated Owens' blood-alcohol content was .114, exceeding the legal limit of .08, the arrest warrant released Friday says.
The officer who tried to stop Owens was looking for suspected drunken drivers when he spotted a 2012 gray Honda Civic that didn't have its headlights turned on, the arrest warrant says. Owens then made a turn from a middle lane and "would have caused a crash" with the police cruiser had the officer not turned to avoid it, according to the warrant.
Owens' brother Lamar Wilson told the paper he last saw Owens on Wednesday evening and can't believe what happened, initially thinking his younger brother had been arrested for driving without a license.
“I can't grasp it. I can’t believe it,” Wilson told the Statesman. “Everything was going good. We were just there trying to perform, and it made a whole other turn."
Wilson said Owens had been drinking and didn't know the streets of Austin.
The warrant says a video from the police unit giving chase "shows the Honda accelerating into crowds, not simply crowded areas but crowds of people who are hit by the car and flung into the air." It adds that Owens drove "for almost three city blocks, accelerating into crowds and does not use his brakes, as in the video there are no brake lights visible from the rear of the Honda."
In October 2011, he was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and a petition to revoke probation, according to Fairbanks records obtained by the Statesman. He pleaded guilty to the DUI misdemeanor charge and prosecutors dismissed the misdemeanor offense for fleeing, but he has an active warrant in Alaska for failing to appear in court, according to records.
Owens also faced 2012 charges in Alaska of criminal mischief, and a warrant was issued for him after he failed to appear in court. In 2010, meanwhile, he was arrested in Texas by Killeen Independent School District police for criminal trespassing and pleaded guilty. Killeen, Texas is roughly 70 miles north of Austin.