SXSW issue statement after person killed in hit and run


SXSW have issued a statement, following news that a hit and run left one dead and another injured in downtown Austin.

The incident took place in the Texas city earlier this morning (Tuesday, March 12). According to local police (via Fox 7 Austin), it was just after 1am when two pedestrians were walking at the intersection of 7th Street and Red River when they were hit by a vehicle.

One of those hit died at the scene, while the other currently remains in hospital with critical, life-threatening injuries. The area where the crime took place remained closed for hours but was reopened by police later in the morning.

Now, South By Southwest festival, which is held in Austin, have shared an official statement in light of the incident, and shared their sympathies with the victims.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of an individual in downtown Austin following an auto-pedestrian accident shortly after 1:00am this morning,” read the post on X/Twitter. “Our thoughts are with all affected by this tragic incident.”

The news of the incident in Austin this morning comes after a similar incident took place during the festival back in 2014.

A man named as Rashad Owens was arrested after killing four and injuring more than 20 others on March 13, 2014. He was aged 23 at the time and drove through a closed street on which there were several venues taking part in the music festival. Police stated that he was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.

Steven Craenmehr, 35, from Amsterdam, local woman Jamie Ranae West, 27, plus Deandre Tatum, 18 and Sandy Le, 27, died in the crash.

Owens was an aspiring rapper who was scheduled to play a late-night show at Club 1808 as part of the SXSW festival. He later pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, but was sentenced to life in jail without parole after a jury unanimously agreed that he “intentionally or knowingly caused the death of two or more people.”

The tragic incident at this year’s edition of SXSW also comes following news that various artists would no longer be performing at the event in solidarity with Palestine.

Naoise Ó Cairealláin, DJ Próvaí and Liam Óg Ó Hannaidh attend the "Kneecap" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre on January 18, 2024 in Park City, Utah.
Kneecap in 2024 (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Lambrini Girls, Scowl, Gel, Okay Shalom and Squirrelflower were among the first to pull out of performing at the festival due to the event’s association with the US army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Yesterday (March 11), it was revealed that Kneecap and Sprints had joined them, and announced their withdrawal from the 2024 edition.

Belfast hip-hop trio Kneecap shared in a statement that their decision to not perform was made “in solidarity with the people of Palestine”. They also highlighted the “unacceptable deep links” the festival had to the US army – which is a “super sponsor” of the event – and defence contractor RTX Corporation, which has supplied weapons to Israel.

The group added that the US military and other platformed weapons companies who are “at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population”.

Kneecap also cited the platforming of Collins Aerospace and BAE Systems as a reason for their boycott, adding that collectively with RTX, the companies were selling the weapons that have “murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children”.

Scowl and Gel pulled out before that, with the former writing: “We refuse to be complicit in the face of genocide in Palestine. We refuse to participate in the war machine,” while Lambrini Girls’ shared their own statement, stating that they “can’t affiliate ourselves whatsoever” with the event.

The annual music, culture and arts showcase takes place in Austin, Texas from March 12-14.

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