Vigil for Fort Worth teens goes on despite cold

Posted Monday, Mar. 17, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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A small group of Trimble Tech students, parents and alumni braved strong north winds Sunday evening to stand on the school’s steps and pray for two teenagers seriously injured last week when a suspected drunk driver plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin.

The gathering of about 20 people also prayed for the motorist, who remains in jail in Austin on capital murder charges in connection with the deaths of three people at the festival. A least two dozen were injured in the incident Thursday.

The 15-minute vigil was for Tech senior Curtisha Davis, known as Tish, and her boyfriend, Deandre Tatum, called Dre, who graduated from the school in 2013.

Both Davis, a popular cheerleader, and Tatum remained at University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin on Sunday. She suffered several broken bones, and Tatum was in critical condition.

“Every year, there seems to be a tragedy at Trimble Tech,” Cedric Malone of Bedford, a 1990 Tech graduate, told the group. “It’s now time to come together and support each other.”

Malone also asked the group to pray for the suspect, Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen.

The group members formed a circle, held hands and were led in prayer by pastor Howard McLean Jr. of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Hillsboro.

“We ask, Lord, that you watch over these families and students during this time,” McLean said.

After prayers, Tech senior Kriston Royal sang the gospel song Encourage Yourself to show support for her injured friends.

Chassity McLean, a Tech senior, said Sunday that she had visited Davis on Saturday and she was doing as well as could be expected.

“I walked in and she started crying,” McLean said. “I kept telling her everything was going to be OK.”

Two other Tech students were also in Austin for the festival. One was treated for injuries and released, and the other was unhurt.

Six victims, including the two from Fort Worth, remained in Austin hospitals on Monday, officials said. One of those was in fair condition at St. David’s Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Erin Ochoa on Sunday. Six were at University Medical Center Brackenridge, said spokeswoman Adrienne Lallo on Sunday. Of those six, one was in critical condition, one serious, one fair, and two were in good condition, Lallo said.

One patient who had been at University Medical Center Brackenridge has died, according to news reports on Monday.

A man from the Netherlands on a bicycle and an Austin woman on a moped were killed, Austin police said.

One of the injured got a private concert in her hospital room at St. David’s Medical Center Saturday afternoon by one of her favorite bands.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that members of the band Jared & The Mill, an indie folk band from Phoenix, gave the concert for Mason Endres, 18, a senior at Liberty Hill High School near Austin.

She suffered a broken leg, a fractured neck and a broken nose.

Owens, 21, was arrested and has been charged with capital murder. He remained in the Travis County Jail in Austin on Sunday in lieu of $3 million bail.

Trimble Tech was on spring break last week. Students return Monday, and counselors will be available for students and faculty.

Before Thursday, students and faculty members were already grieving the death of Jocelyn Saucedo, a junior who was fatally stabbed March 7. Luis E. Torres, 20, was arrested in her slaying.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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