25 people were injured in last night's hit-and-run incident at SXSW and two patients remain in "critical condition" at a trauma centre, Austin officials announced at a press conference this afternoon. The two fatalities reported earlier today, who were killed on a moped, have been identified as a Dutch man and a local female cyclist. Police have not yet released the names of the victims.
“SXSW has been running for 27 years and this is the first time we’ve had an incident of this kind,” said Lee Leffingwell, the mayor of Austin. “I want to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to those injured and killed. There is no way to express our sadness.”
Police confirmed that the suspect, who has since been arrested, was fleeing from a routine DUI check when he rammed into the crowd. The suspect now faces two counts of capital murder, which is the highest offense you can charge someone with in the state of Texas. He also faces multiple accounts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.
SXSW co-founder Roland Swenson, looking weary and saddened, also spoke at the conference, describing the festival staff as being “stunned and deeply moved” by the events of last night.
The festival organisers intend to carry on with the SXSW music schedule, which includes a performance by Lady Gaga tonight.
“As much as we would like to go home to absorb the shock, we feel that the best thing to do is carry on and we will make announcements accordingly,” Swenson said. “We would love to go home, but we feel an obligation to those that have come out.”
There are currently plans for a memorial in the works, but they have yet to be confirmed.
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