A relief fund for the victims of the fatal incident in which two people were killed and a further 23 injured in the early hours of this morning (March 13) at SXSW in Austin, Texas has been set up.
“The SXSW Cares Fund will help people affected by the tragic events of March 13, 2014,” reads a statement. “The funds will be disbursed to those most affected through a community-based process.” For more information, and to make donations, visit: SXSWcares.com.
James Moody, the owner of Mohawk, the venue outside which the incident took place, said he and his staff were “broken hearted”. He added: “We have spent today working with SXSW and the City to create a relief fund for the victims. This is our number one priority – their care and support. We are a community here that exists far beyond the 10 days of SXSW. Our intent is to come together to help the families of each and every one of the victims.”
A number of venues which were taking part in the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas have had their afternoon gigs cancelled. The Mohawk venue on Red River Street pulled shows from Perfect Pussy, Fucked Up, Cloud Nothings, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Speedy Ortiz, Chloe Howl and EMA. The venue is due to be taken over this evening by the A$AP Mob and will open at 7pm, local time. A statement released by SXSW reads: “SXSW, Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie’s staff, after consultation with the Austin Police Department and the City of Austin officials, have determined that with very heavy hearts, they will open for business this evening at 7pm for their regularly scheduled SXSW official showcases.”
Cheer Up Charlie’s also pulled their afternoon’s events, cancelling gigs from Tokyo Police Club, Deap Vally, Bleeding Rainbow, The Bots and Small Black. They too will reopen this evening, local time. The venue shared a message on their Facebook page stating that local blood donors are needed. “You can go to South Austin Blood Bank and donate,” they wrote.
SXSW founder Roland Swenson released a statement about the venues opening again tonight. “After talking with the Austin Police Department, we have determined that the most prudent course of action is to move forward with the SXSW shows scheduled at the Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie’s tonight. If we were to turn away potentially thousands of people who will arrive to see the shows, it would create a serious safety issue,” he said. “To avoid confusion we plan to carry on in order to serve our tens of thousands of participants during this tragic time.”
Earlier today, the sole suspect in the case, Rashad Owens, was charged with two counts of capital murder. Austin police chief Art Acevedo revealed the Owens’ charges at a news conference held this morning, local time, at 9th & Red River, near to the site of the incident. At the press conference it was confirmed that 15 of the 23 admitted to hospital following the crash have been released. Eight people remain in hospital, two of whom are in a critical condition.
The names of the two deceased have yet to be revealed, but they have been confirmed as a local woman who was on a moped at that time and a male cyclist from the Netherlands. Acevedo did not release information on whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the suspect’s crash, but did say his blood is being tested.