AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 21-year-old driver of a vehicle that plowed through a crowd of pedestrians celebrating South by Southwest on Thursday morning portrays himself as a budding rap artist and is father to several small children, according to his Facebook page. Rashad Owens also spent 10 days in jail in 2011 after pleading guilty to being intoxicated after fleeing the scene of a collision in Alaska.
Records show Owens was charged with misdemeanor DWI and leaving the scene of an accident Oct. 17, 2011, in Fairbanks. The prosecution dismissed the second charge at the time. The court ordered him to pay court costs and attend an alcohol and substance abuse program.
When he failed to attend, authorities issued a warrant in 2012 for his arrest, court officials told KXAN. That warrant was outstanding when he was arrested Thursday. Austin Police indicated they would have likely arrested Owens on that offense if he had cooperated with the traffic stop.
The most recent arrest affidavit shows Owens admitted to being afraid of being picked up on other outstanding kidnapping warrants related to a child custody battle for his daughter. An initial search of public records shows no such warrants.
His criminal background began in Alaska when Owens was arrested for drinking alcohol as a minor and public mischief, records show.
A look through Owens’ online profile also shows he attended Shoemaker High School in Killeen after moving there several years ago. He is also father to several children, including an infant. A post indicates was born in February to Monica Milligan.
On her Facebook page, Milligan was at a loss for words Thursday after the deadly crash in Austin.
“I don’t know what to think, feel or even say right know,” she said in a Facebook post. “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,” she continued, “it really does!’
KXAN confirmed Owens’ legal troubles continued in Texas when Killeen Police picked him up on misdemeanor criminal trespass charges – once at his high school in 2010 and a second time in 2011 at a Killeen liquor store where an affidavit reportedly showed he refused to leave the premises after being asked to. He was sentenced to 60 days in the Bell County jail on the second charge, the affidavit showed.
Owens’ Facebook page contains a number of videos showing the 21-year-old mixing music and rap songs under the handle BAK254. The number is an apparent reference to Killeen’s area code. The night of the traffic stop in Austin, Owens was supposed to have performed at Club 1808 on 12th Street in East Austin. Staff there said he never showed up.
The Facebook page even features a screen of him in an interview with a South Carolina TV station last August talking about National Night Out. Records show Owens spent his youth in the tiny community of Orangeburg, S.C. Calls to relatives there were not immediately returned.
KXAN tracked down two former addresses on Thursday that neighbors say was home to Owens, his mother and brother. Each rented house was on a modest suburban street in the south part of Killeen.
Former neighbors at one location say they did see Owens get into a physical fight one time with a next door neighbor.
They also stayed at a second small house in Killeen until last fall. When they left, the new tenant said they left no forwarding address and a growing pile of mail.
“All sorts, two W2s, advertising stuff,” said Katie Abrams, who moved into the home in January. “All addressed to Rashad family’s and other tenants.”
Some of that mail was addressed to Monica Milligan.
When Abrams recently invited Milligan by Facebook to pick up about a dozen letters she received no response.
“Just last week we received a letter addressed to Rashad,” said Abrams. “We sent it back to the post office.”
There is a long legal road ahead for the Owens. KXAN Legal Analyst Mindy Montford took a deeper look at why he faces two counts of capital murder. Watch what she had to say in the video below: