On Thursday morning, a tragic hit-and-run sent shockwaves throughout South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, leaving two dead and 23 injured. Now Vans is helping to support the victims and their families through the SXSW Cares Fund, which has raised $20,000 in donations from Thursday's profits at the Vans Village retail store.
Donations can also be made through the Vans website, where the company is selling Vans Band Re-issues, or at the SXSW Cares website, with all proceeds benefitting the fund directly through a community-based disbursement process.
"Today, Vans grieves alongside everyone in the city of Austin at South by Southwest for the innocent lives taken last night on Red River St.," the company said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy. . . We are sincerely thankful for the immediate response and care given to those affected by dedicated Austin professionals. The entire Vans family mourns for those lost and holds all those injured in our thoughts."
Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. While formal charges are still pending, Austin Chief of Police Art Acevedo said Owens' actions were "intentional," and Austin news station KVUE reported that Owens – who had been previously convicted for various offenses, including criminal trespass – was driving a stolen vehicle at the time of the incident.
As of mid-day Thursday, eight of the 23 injured victims remained hospitalized – with two in critical condition, three in serious condition and three hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries.
Like many seemingly inexplicable incidents, the Austin hit-and-run has brought out the best in those hoping to help the victims. Arizona band Jared & the Mill visited 18-year-old Mason Endres in the hospital after Endres fractured her neck and broke her leg and nose to perform a private concert with the teenager.
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