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SXSW Crash Suspect In Austin Hoping To Get His Big Music Break

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KILLEEN (CBSDFW.COM) – The question so many people are asking is what was alleged SXSW crash driver Rashad Owens thinking? While it may be some time — if ever– before we know a definitive answer to that question, CBS 11 News has learned more about what the suspect was doing in Austin.

Rashad Owens grew up in Killeen. A family friend told CBS 11 Owens was in Austin with a group of rappers, all hoping to get their big music break during South by Southwest.

His friends know Owens as a musician, but now the world knows him as the driver who plowed through a crowd of SXSW festival-goers.

Owens family friend Tony Wilson said, “I know he’s not a bad kid.”

Owens grew up with Wilson’s son. He says the two had gone to Austin hoping to perform at Club 1808, near 12th and Chicon streets.

“They weren’t going to look for trouble or anything. They were going to do their rap show and come on back and then he just got caught up in something he shouldn’t have been in.”

Sources say Owens was drinking and wanted a ride home to Killeen, but a friend he was with wasn’t ready to leave. Sources say the 21-year-old then stole a car and shortly after crashed into the crowd.

Wilson doesn’t believe the young man intentionally tried to run down pedestrians. “I think he turned down the wrong road and he got spooked by the police and then just one of those bad things happened to him.”

A search of public records shows Owens has had a number of arrests out of Alaska, including a DUI misdemeanor charge. He was also arrested by the Killeen school district Police Department for criminal trespass.

Owens girlfriend posted on her Facebook page, “I don’t know what to think, feel or even say right now. My heart is broken.  The only thing I’m focusing on is my son, knowing that he will only have me to look up to. It hurts, it really does.”

According to family friends, Owens had six kids, with the youngest being just five-weeks-old.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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