Photos of Rashad Charjuan Owens, named as the suspect in the deadly SXSW crash outside The Mohawk early Thursday morning, show that he is a father.
Owens was being chased by police after he was stopped for allegedly driving under the influence.
He took off the wrong way down a street and ran over dozens of people, killing two.
The scene in Austin, TX quickly turned into a mess as witnesses described bodies flying into the air.
Owens is believed to have stolen the vehicle he was driving from a Fort Hood soldier, reported My San Antonio.
Owens, 21, has been in prior legal trouble, including driving under the influence of marijuana in November 2011, when he ran into a light pole.
Owens lives in Killeen, Texas, where he worked at a Subway.
The grandmother of the suspect told the Austin Statesman that Owens is a father of a toddler son and enjoys producing music.
She was in shock over what happened and said that “He is good. He is so good. …Whatever happened was out of his control, I am sure.”
“I just don’t know what happened,” she added, noting that Owens often called home and often visited her and other relatives.
The driver struck multiple pedestrians at about 12:30 a.m. on a block filled with concertgoers, continued down the street and hit and killed a man from the Netherlands on a bicycle and a woman from Austin on a moped, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference Thursday. The driver eventually crashed and tried to run away, but he was shocked by a stun gun and taken into custody.
“… When somebody acts intentionally, it’s very difficult to stop. You have a car here. You have a police officer that was forced to jump out of the way,” Acevedo said Thursday.
Witnesses said the scene was chaotic. Multiple acts performed at two side-by-side nightclubs on the street as part of the annual music, film and interactive conference that draws tens of thousands to Austin each year.
Hours later, a pool of blood was still in the crosswalk with a trail leading to the sidewalk, bits of broken taillight mingled in and a medical glove nearby. People were already starting to filter in for the day’s events and bands had started to play by early Thursday afternoon, and city buses took their normal route past the blood.
The festival issued a statement that expressed condolences for the victims and said some events would be relocated because of the incident.
(AP Photos/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner)
Owens will face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle. Acevedo said it was an “intentional act,” and that the suspect has been booked and formal charges will be filed this afternoon.
Police said the incident started when an officer on a drunken-driving patrol tried to stop the silver Toyota sedan at a gas station a few blocks away. The car took off, weaving between parked cars then driving at high speed the wrong way down a one-way street.
The driver rammed through police barriers — three wooden pieces held up by metal poles — set up on Red River Street on the northeast edge of the entertainment district. It’d had been packed with revelers just minutes earlier, but officials had cleared the area to create a fire lane.
Austin resident Kirk Visser, 47, lives across the street from The Mohawk nightclub, where the bands X and TEEN had just wrapped up when the crash happened and rapper Tyler the Creator was scheduled to perform at 1 a.m.
Visser was watching TV when he heard the crash, and said he thought the nightclub’s outdoor balcony had collapsed, so he stepped outside on his second-floor balcony.
“As soon as I stepped out, I knew I had heard metal on a body,” he said. “There were people everywhere running and screaming.”
Scott Jakota, a musician from Indiana in town to play SXSW, told the Austin American-Statesman he was one of the first people hit outside The Mohawk. He said the driver “gunned” the car.
“I was thrown up in the sky,” Jakota said.
Next door to The Mohawk, singer-songwriter Kurt Vile was playing the outdoor stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Ted Evans, a 29-year-old from New York City, said he heard what he thought was a gunshot. He made it out to the street a half-hour later.
“There was blood on the ground. I saw some people who had blood on their hands, and police were just trying to keep everyone calm,” said Evans, who’s working at the festival. He said the shows at both clubs were canceled within minutes of the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.