Police investigate whether Astroworld victims were injected with drugs in targeted attack with syringe with opioids as organizers come under the microscope.
It remained unclear if the incident instigated the stampede towards the front of the concert that led to at least 8 dead, including a 14 year old and over 300 injured.
Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner made the claim at a press conference Saturday following rumors about the Astroworld Fest tragedy, after Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner revealed the victims were aged between 14 and 27.
‘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 was out and treated him last night,’ Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner said at Saturday’s conference.
‘He was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck.’
Astroworld victim sues Travis Scott and Drake for inciting crowd for $1m after suffering permanent injuries
Houston Police Department says there is evidence of someone trying to inject a security officer with drugs at AstroWorld Festival pic.twitter.com/GT44crL21s
— GlockTopickz (@Glock_Topickz) November 6, 2021
‘There are a lot of unanswered questions,’
‘He went unconscious, they administered Narcan. He was revived, and medical staff did notice a prick similar to a prick you would get if somebody was trying to inject,’ he added.
‘There are a lot of unanswered questions,’ Turner said, while encouraging people to ‘not buy into the to the rumors’ that have been circulating on social media.
No further updates have been given on the identity of the alleged needle stabber and whether they were arrested.
Earlier on Friday, hundreds of people were filmed stampeding through a VIP entrance at the Live Nation-organized event, sparking fears of overcrowding and poor crowd control.
Travis Scott was filmed continuing to perform after eight people were crushed to death – including two victims aged just 14 and 16 – at Houston’s Astroworld Festival on Friday night with one witness saying it was a ‘floor of bodies’.
Video circulating on Twitter showed the crowd chanting ‘stop the show, stop the show!’ It remains unclear if Scott heard the their chants.
— damn (@DexterL07617514) November 6, 2021
Rapper comes under focus
Scott was seen sobbing afterwards, as Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena warned the death toll could rise further, with 25 people in total transported to the hospital with 13 still hospitalized, including five that are under the age of 18. No less than 11 suffered cardiac arrest.
The surge happened at 9.15pm and Pena said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon that the ‘mass casualty incident’ was declared at 9.15pm. Nearly an hour later, at 10.10pm, the concert producer Live Nation halted the show.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner then confirmed that of the eight who were killed two were under 18, two were 21, two were 23, one was 27 and one victim’s age remains unknown.
As the chaos unfolded the rapper, who completed his 75-minute show, even appeared to glance in the direction of passed-out fans as the show went on. Scott halted the performance at least once was filmed calling for security to help distressed fans in the front row.
Although he completed his 75-minute performance, at one point the rapper was filmed calling for help. In another video he stood on a platform with his microphone while chaos unfolded beneath him.
Meanwhile, Scott’s girlfriend, reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who attended the event, was blasted online for posting a clip of an ambulance tending to the injured and dead as the chaos unfolded.
this hurts to watch… It makes me sick to my stomach. Travis Scott is SICK pic.twitter.com/CgaAPHapBT
— Barb Status (@barb_status) November 6, 2021
‘People are f***ing dying’
But other videos from the night showed distraught fans begging concert staff to halt the performance and help people escape the surge.
‘People are f***ing dying, I want to save somebody’s life,’ a man said as he climbed on a platform where a cameraman was filming the performance.
‘That’s somebody’s kid! I want to save them!’ he screamed – but to no avail. Astroworld Fest’s organizers offered their condolences to the families of those killed in a statement Saturday, and appealed for anyone with information to contact Houston Police.
Meanwhile, TMZ reported that a ‘key person’ connected to Astroworld said that Friday night was actually the result of a ‘targeted attack’ after ‘someone in the crowd went crazy and began injecting people with some sort of drug, which caused panic and then a surge’. Cops said they’re keeping an open mind, although Houston’s fire chief says he thinks the tragedy was caused by a crush.
A source close to the Scott told Page Six that the rapper had ‘no idea what was going on, he was on stage performing’.
‘He’s beside himself, I’ve never heard him like that. He was in tears,’ the source added, noting that Jenner was ‘by his side right now and supporting him’.
Organizers to be investigated
The eight people who died have yet to be identified and police have asked those who have not heard from loved ones who attended the event to report to the local Wyndham Hotel where a ‘reunification center’ has been set up.
Police are reportedly working to identify the victims are are awaiting the medical examiner’s investigation to determine a cause of death according to the dailymail.
According to the Houston Chronicle Friday’s deadly incident was not the first time the concert’s producer Live Nation Worldwide and Live Nation Entertainment has come under scrutiny for OSHA safety and antitrust violations. The live-entertainment company – which puts on 40,000 shows per year, according to its website, and which Billboard has cited as the world’s largest – has faced charges relating to 16 violations and has paid more than $83million in penalties.
Mayor Turner said the investigation remains active with the police department’s homicide and narcotics team, adding that the local government is also speaking with Live Nation spokespeople.
‘We will probably be at it for quite some time to determine exactly what happened,’ Turner said.