The man who drove through two police barriers and into a crowd of people at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin on Wednesday night already had a warrant out on him for a previous DUI, authorities say.
21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens was arrested in 2011 in Alaska for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. He had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear in court on those charges, which may be why he tried to run when police pulled him over on Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Owens reportedly drove away from police and into a crowd on the street, breaking through two barriers to do so. Once there, one victim said, Owens actually gunned the engine and aimed for people rather than trying to go around. He hit 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr and 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West, who were on a motor scooter, and killed them instantly. 23 others were injured, several critically. Owens made his way through the crowd and eventually fled the car on foot, but police caught up to him. He now faces two charges of capital murder–which means he will be eligible for the death penalty–and aggravated assault charges.
“I’ve never seen nothing like it. I felt like I was at a war or something. I was down here for the music …we were having the best time ever. And then it turned into the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said witness Russ Barone.
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