SXSW crash suspect was there to perform, has criminal history

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA and KVUE reports

WFAA and KVUE

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 6:14 PM

AUSTIN, Texas — The 21-year-old man accused of driving through a busy crowd and killing two people at Austin’s South By Southwest festival has a criminal past.

Rashad Charjuan Owens was driving a stolen car from Killeen, Fort Hood officials told KVUE, when the incident took place early Thursday morning.

News 8’s Jason Whitely has learned Owens is a rapper and was in Austin to perform at 1 a.m. according to two long-time friends.

They say the car the suspect was driving was not stolen. They told News 8 it belonged to another rapper who was performing at the same club in Austin that night and he had loaned it to Owens.

The friends said Owens had been drinking and they could not explain why he drove into the crowd.

Owens is from South Carolina, grew up in Kileen, moved to Alaska for a couple of years, then returned to Kileen. Friends say he has six children.

According to criminal records in Fairbanks, Alaska, Owens was jailed on several charges — including from DUI and criminal trespassing — in 2011.

Owens was also arrested in Killeen in September 2010 for criminal trespassing.

Austin police said they planned to charge him with capital murder and aggravated assault with a vehicle.

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