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This story was updated Friday evening.
Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, has been charged with one count of capital murder for allegedly crashing his car into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival killing two and injuring more than 20, the Associated Press reports. Further charges may be filed as well.
Police say the driver accelerated as he neared the crowd in an apparent effort to escape police, who were pursuing him because they thought he might be driving under the influence, the AP reported. He had been driving without his headlights on and made a turn from the wrong lane, police said.
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 said, according to the AP and other news reports.
Owens has been booked and jailed at the Travis County Jail in connection with the incident since around 5:45 a.m. Thursday. His bail was set at $3 million.
Owens was in town to perform during the festival, according to reports. He is an aspiring rapper who goes by the name KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254. Mixes, posted on a SoundCloud account that matches his rapper name and mugshot, have attracted scores of comments in the past 24 hours.
He was to perform Wednesday night at a venue in East Austin, according to the Austin American-Statesman. That night, he had been drinking, his brother told the paper.
Police say Owens hit and killed a man from the Netherlands on a bicycle and an Austin woman on a moped. Investigators say he eventually crashed into a taxi and parked van and tried to run before police subdued him with a stun gun.
Owens had a conviction in Alaska for drunken driving and one in Texas for criminal trespass, The Associated Press reported. The American-Statesman said he also had a number of misdemeanor arrests and a warrant was out for him in Alaska.
On Thursday, at least two music venues in the area canceled performances. Some observed moments of silence or held tribute performances. The historic St. David’s Episcopal Church held a prayer service for the victims of the accident, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Owens’ brother and grandmother told the paper he was raised in a Christian home, enrolled in college and just trying to provide for his six kids.
“He is good. He is so good. … Whatever happened was out of his control, I am sure,” the’ grandmother told the American-Statesman.
Follow our live coverage of SXSW with The Post’s pop music critic Chris Richards.