New details have come to light about the tragedy that claimed eight lives during Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival on Friday night…
As we previously reported, the 29-year-old rapper had been performing at NRG Park when people “began to compress toward the front of the stage” causing panic and injuries. Police soon declared the scene a “mass casualty incident” about a half-hour into Scott’s set. However, according to The Daily Beast, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner revealed in a news conference on Saturday afternoon that his performance didn’t actually end until 10:10 pm:
“Our people stepped up [around 9:30 p.m.] and immediately went to the producers and told them, ‘Hey, people are going down.’”
He then attempted to justify the time it took to shut everything down, saying:
“You cannot just close [it down] when you have over 50,000 individuals, OK? We have to worry about riots when you have a group that’s that young. It was a cooperation and discussion between promoters, my fire department, the police department and NRG officials. I think that part was pretty good.”
But videos flooded social media, showing fans begging and pleading with Scott and festival staff members to “stop the show” when people started to get hurt.
Details surrounding what caused the initial panic are unknown. However, sources told TMZ that someone in the crowd had been injecting concertgoers with an unknown drug, which caused some of the chaos. During the news conference, Finner confirmed that a security guard had been pricked by a needle by an unknown person:
“One of the narratives was that some individual was injecting other people with drugs. We do have a report of a security officer, according to the medical staff that treated him last night, that he was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck.”
The officer soon became unconscious but was revived with Narcan, a drug used to treat narcotic overdoses. After he was given the medicine, Finner said medical staff noticed the mark on his neck seemingly from a needle. Fire Department Chief Sam Peña also noted that “there were several, many instances where they administered Narcan on the scene.”
However, it’s still unclear if this was a singular incident and related to the crowd surge. As of right now, Finner stated that the concert “is now a criminal investigation that is going to involve our homicide division as well as narcotics.”
Elsewhere in the press conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that the number of fatalities currently remains at eight, with ages ranging from 14 to 27. As of this afternoon, 25 people were hospitalized. One victim has been confirmed as a 10-year-old, who is in critical condition.
We’ll keep you update on any new information is made known. Our hearts continue to go out to those impacted by this tragedy.