HPD: Criminal investigation into Astroworld Festival 'ongoing'
HOUSTON - Houston police say the criminal investigation into what happened at Astroworld last Friday continues.
Roughly 50,000 people attended the event, according to investigators. Eight people are dead, and hundreds were injured. Authorities say six people remain in the hospital, five of them in the ICU.
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The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office has released the names of all eight victims. However, their cause of death is still pending. The victims range in age from 14 to 27.
On Monday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner revealed he met with Travis Scott before the concert with concerns regarding public safety.
In a statement, Finner said, "I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event. I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages, to include a global pandemic and social tension throughout the nation. I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any unscheduled events. The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety concerns as Chief of Police."
As Travis Scott prepared to take the stage around 9 pm Friday, the crowd grew rowdier.
Remington Richardson, an EMT who worked the Astroworld, posted a video to TikTok, detailing how medics hired for the festival were overwhelmed.
"It was just a situation where maybe just over a 100, 150 personnel was responsible for probably over 50,000 highly irresponsible people. In the thick of this, I'm like so many people are going down, so many people are getting injured, and my observations were that there was zero crowd etiquette at all," said Richardson in the video.
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According to Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena, site patrol determined around 9:15 p.m that the event was escalating, and called for backup. About 15 minutes later, around 9:30 PM, a mass casualty incident was declared. Additional fire units and ambulances were then dispatched to NRG Park to help.
"When people started becoming unconscious, the reports of overdoses, cardiac arrests; at that point, it seemed to me they were quickly overwhelmed and our units stepped in to fill that gap," Pena said.
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Pena estimates 25 people were initially transported to the hospital Friday.
"We administered lots of Narcan. It doesn’t mean that they were all overdosed, Narcan is something we give to patients that we don’t know the cause of why they're unconscious," Pena said.
At one point, he says 55 fire units and 20 ambulances were deployed to NRG Park. He believes the situation could've been much worse had the additional resources not been in place.