Tragedy struck at a music festival in Houston, Texas on Friday as eight people died and dozens more were injured when a tightly packed crowd surged toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, resulting in some people being crushed or knocked down, and trampled underfoot.
Now, a criminal investigation has been launched by local law enforcement and at least one civil liability lawsuit has already been filed against Scott and the concert promoter, The Hill reported.
Scott, who has been heavily criticized for proceeding with his show even as it was evident a serious problem was occurring, issued a statement Saturday about how “absolutely devastated” he was at what happened while he pledged his “total support” for the investigation into the deadly incident.
According to USA Today, Houston police have opened up a criminal investigation of the fatal tragedy at the Astroworld Festival in the Texas city’s NRG Park. Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) told CNN Sunday that he expected the probe “will take weeks, if not longer.”
Two key areas of focus will likely be the private security team — reportedly numbering 700 strong, in addition to 500 Houston police officers — hired for the event as well as the manner in which security barriers were arrayed that led to 50,000 attendees being tightly packed together in front of the stage.
Officials will reportedly review all available footage of the concert — including from promoter Live Nation as well as from the cell phones of concert-goers — along with permits issued and security plans to try and determine what went wrong.
“It may well be that this tragedy is the result of unpredictable events, of circumstances coming together that couldn’t possibly have been avoided,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “But until we determine that, I will ask the tough questions.”
The outlet noted that this isn’t the first time that Live Nation Entertainment has come under fire and faced legal liability issues for chaos and injuries at its events, as the organization has faced federal fines and been sued multiple times in the past for safety issues that have occurred.
Meanwhile, The Hill reported separately that an injured concert-goer named Manuel Souza has already filed a lawsuit against Scott and organizers Live Nation and ScoreMore over what he described as a “predictable and preventable tragedy.”
The suit asserts that the health and safety of attendees were ignored in favor of maximizing profit as well as allegations that the performer encouraged chaos and violence from the crowd.
“Travis Scott has a history of inciting violence and creating dangerous conditions for concertgoers,” Souza’s attorneys told The Hill, going on to reference a tweet from Scott during a prior performance in May. “In fact, he tweeted that he would let the ‘wild ones’ in after the show sold out. He and those who promoted and supported this concert must take responsibility for their heinous actions.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), in a Saturday statement, expressed his condolences for those who’d been killed or injured and gratitude for those who worked to save lives, be they first responders or “good Samaritans” in the crowd. He also affirmed his support for the investigation, and pledged that all necessary state resources would be made available for the probe.