Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival was ravaged by a massive crowd surge that drove concertgoers to the stage. Eight people were killed and others left fighting for their lives.
Since then, a criminal investigation has launched into the event and multiple lawsuits have been filed against Scott and the promoter, Live Nation Entertainment.
Troy Finner from Houston Police Department provided clarification on Friday’s rumored injures of a security guard. Finner said the guard was not injected with anything, but was struck in the head and knocked unconscious. He said that police are investigating whether any laced drugs were present at the concert.
Two people are still in critical condition, he said.
Finner also defended the Houston Police Department’s ability to conduct a fair investigation, saying “we investigate ourselves all the time.” Finner confirmed “around 530” police officers were onsite at the concert. The police chief, who previously said he spoke to Scott ahead of his concert Friday about security concerns, denied having a relationship with the rapper that would impede the investigation.
“I’m a 54-year-old man. It’s a great experience to meet so many people. Houston was where I was born. If you call meeting (Scott) twice a relationship… that’s not a close relationship to me. Let’s put that to rest,” Finner said.
Finner called the FBI a partner in the investigation, but said his department was taking the lead. Finner declined to comment on the timeline of events that occurred on Friday and said it was part in ongoing investigations.
Festival had no operation plan
On Tuesday, a 56-page event operations plan for the festival, obtained by USA TODAY, revealed protocols in place for “multiple casualty incidents” as well as what to do in the case of an active shooter, bomb threats, severe weather and more.
Safety and security plans included a plan for incident management, including how to handle “traumatic injuries resulting in death”. Protocols included notifying event control and referring to the “suspected deceased victim” using the code “smurf” and never using the term “dead” or “deceased” over the radio.
The plan for a multiple casualty incident said to establish communications and triage stations and notify hospitals of the need to prepare for incoming patients. Another section of the document outlined what to do if there was a “civil disturbance or riot” and listed tips for identifying dangerous crowd behavior. Another section of the guidance included information on how to report any activity to event control or request a supervisor.
It did not address the issue of what to do in case there was a surge.
We know everything we can about one of America’s most tragic concert tragedies.
Texas Governor launches a task force for concert safety
In the wake of the Astroworld tragedy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement Wednesday announcing he would be forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety.
Brendon Anthony will lead the task force. He will also be accompanied by a group of music industry experts, firefighters, and safety specialists. The task force will include representatives of the Texas Music Office director Brendon Anthony and members from the sheriff’s association.
The purpose of the task force is to “develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximizing the joy of live music events.”
“Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans — and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security,” said Governor Abbott in the statement.
Houston Fire Department lost touch with private medical group
Houston fire officials – perched outside the festival grounds – had no way to directly communicate with medics from ParaDocs Worldwide, the festival medic group contracted to provide treatment to fans, USA TODAY reported Tuesday.
Houston fire officials shared two-way radios with police but only had cellphone numbers for ParaDoc medics – which didn’t work or weren’t answered in the frenzy of the night, fire officials said.
The breakdown in communication with ParaDocs cost the Houston Fire Department valuable minutes in launching a robust medical response as people were trampled, crushed and gasping for final breaths while authorities struggled to get information and create a rescue plan, fire officials said.
Interviews with senior fire officials and documents detailing the night’s events, including a 22-page medical plan filed by ParaDocs, reviewed by USA TODAY show how the severity of injuries rapidly escalated as Scott took the stage and how quickly ParaDocs was overwhelmed, forcing Houston fire officials to assume authority and deploy resources to the scene.
Continue reading:Houston Fire Department lost communication with private ambulance group after Astroworld catastrophe.
After being taken from his father at the festival, a 9-year old is now in a coma
Many people received treatment on the spot for their injuries, and 13 of them were admitted to hospital. Family members said that a 9 year old boy, who was at the festival alongside his father, became disoriented when the crowd became too dangerously crowded.
Bernon Blount reported that Ezra his grandson was in a medically inducible coma Tuesday at a Houston hospital. He also said that Ezra’s brain, heart and lungs were all damaged in the chaos.
“My son, once he had passed out from the pressure being applied to him during the concert, he passed out and Ezra fell into the crowd,” Blount told The Associated Press. “When my son awakened, Ezra wasn’t there.”
Lawyers sue for safety.
Concertgoers have filed at least 17 lawsuits and Scott was named in at least 14 of the personal injury lawsuits filed in Harris County, Texas, by Astroworld attendees, alleging negligence and gross negligence. Every civil lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages, as well as a trial by a juror.
“Tragically, due to Defendants’ motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety, and due to their encouragement of violence, at least 8 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured at what was supposed to be a night of fun,” reads one of the complaints, filed on behalf of injured Astroworld attendee Manuel Souza.
Benjamin Crump was a well-known civil rights attorney who filed on behalf Noah Gutierrez. Crump stated that Gutierrez described the scene as “chaos, desperation.”
Crump stated in a statement that “we are hearing horrifying accounts of the terror, helplessness and despair people felt.” “The terror and trauma caused by a large crowd, as well as the horrible experience of witnessing people lose their lives while trying to save them,” Crump stated.
Manuel Souza, Kristian Paredes and others have been sued.
Thomas J. Henry, Paredes’ lawyer stated in a press release that there is no reason for Friday night’s events at NRG stadium. There is evidence that performers, venue organizers and venue knew about the chaotic crowd and that possible injuries and deaths could have been caused. They chose to make profits and let the show go on regardless of what was happening to their audience.
Astroworld offers refunds or lawsuitsTravis Scott offers ‘full refunds’ to attendees, lawsuits filed in tragedy’s aftermath
Travis Scott offers refunds and responds in kind to tragic events
Scott and festival organizers are issuing “full refunds” to all those who purchased tickets for Astroworld following the tragic turn of his Houston concert.
The rapper was scheduled to perform at the Day N Vegas music festival this weekend, but has been replaced by Post Malone, the festival announced Monday night.
Scott first released a statement in response to the tragedy on Saturday morning saying he was “devastated” by what occurred.
“My thoughts and prayers go out for the Astroworld Festival families. Houston PD will continue their investigation into the terrible loss of lives. He stated.
“I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Scott said, “Thank you Houston PD Fire Department and NRG Park” for your immediate support.”
Later Saturday, Scott posted a distraught update on his Instagram Stories. “I want to send prayers out to those who lost their lives last night. …… You know my fans … really mean the world to me and I always just want to leave them with a positive experience and any time I can make out anything that’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need.”
Astroworld: Was there a problem? Expert: “Everything went wrong like dominoes.”
Witnesses tell how the crowd surged
Houston authorities and witnesses described a crowd surge at the event that left eight dead and several others injured.
The surge began shortly after 9 p.m. around the time that Scott, a festival headliner and founder, took the stage. As a timer clicked down to start the rapper’s performance, concertgoers pushed toward the stage, crowding the stage and leaving little room to move. A total of 50,000 were present.
Witnesses described a complete security collapse at the venue. Julius Tlacuapa, a concertgoer said that the crowd was out of control before the show opened.
USA TODAY spoke with Ian James who was also at the festival and shared his account of the chaotic scene. As the music began, everyone ran forward and it felt like there was a vacuum, as people were pulled closer together. That’s when things started taking a turn for the worse,” James wrote. “For 45 minutes I could not draw a full breath of air … If I had been any shorter, I would’ve suffocated.”
First person accountTravis Scott’s Astroworld required me to lift people who were shorter so that they could breath.
Students and aspiring models were among the victims.
The victims ranged in age from 14 to 27. Eight deaths have been confirmed. They are Mirza Danish Baig, 27; Rodolfo Peña, 23; Madison Dubiski, 23; Axel Acosta Avila, 21; Franco Patino, 21; Jacob Jurinek, 20; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; and John Hilgert, 14.
Among the victims were an aspiring model (Peña), a man who died trying to save his fiancee (Baig), best friends (Acosta and Patino) and a girl who loved to dance (Rodriguez). Many were high school and university students.
Autopsies will be performed before the victims are released to their families, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.
Travis Scott’s concert history is littered with accidents
Scott launched the Astroworld festival in 2018, months after the release of his third studio album of the same name. Since then, the concert has occurred every year, except for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, at Houston’s NRG Park – the former location of Six Flags AstroWorld theme park.
His “Astroworld” album led Scott to receive multiple Grammy nominations, including best rap album and best rap song for his collaboration with Drake for “Sicko Mode.” He has been nominated 8 times in his long career.
Scott is known for his high-energy shows and enthusiastic crowds. Many concertgoers call themselves “ragers”, and claim that the show’s popularity and enjoyment is due to the high-energy performances and rowdy crowds. Scott has been arrested at least two times – in 2015 and 2017 – for inciting riots and disorderly conduct at his shows. In both of these cases, he pleaded guilty and was given a 1-year probation. For the second case, he was required to pay court costs and restitution for 2 injured persons.
The 29-year-old rapper has a 3-year-old daughter with Kylie Jenner, who announced in September that she’s pregnant with their second child.
Contributing: Nusaiba Mizan, Austin American-Statesman; Jennifer McClellan, USA TODAY