Rapper Travis Scott faces multiple lawsuits after eight people were killed and hundreds injured in a crowd crush at the Texas Astroworld festival.
Two other injured participants allege that Scott, along with surprise artist Drake, incited the crowd and are each claiming $ 1 million in damages.
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Two of the victims of the concert were teenagers, aged 14 and 16, caught in the overwhelming influx of crowds as Scott continued to perform, completing his set even after noticing fans were receiving medical attention. Scott, the lead actor and hometown star who founded the Astroworld festival in 2018, later said he was unaware of the gravity of the situation.
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Houston City Police Chief Troy Finner said his department opened a criminal investigation by homicide and narcotics detectives, following reports that a person in the audience injected drugs. drugs to people.
A security guard felt a prick in his neck, passed out and was resuscitated after being injected with Narcan, a drug used to treat opioid overdoses, said Finner. Several others were treated with Narcan, according to the city’s fire chief, Samuel Pena.
Harris County Judge Lina Hildago also called for an “objective and independent” investigation into the rap festival attended by 50,000 people.
“Maybe the plans were inadequate. Maybe the plans were good but they weren’t followed, ”said Hildago. “The families of those who died, everyone affected, deserve answers. “
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also called for a briefing of all parties, including first responders, concert promoter Live Nation and venue officials, NRG Park.
The first lawsuit, filed by Manuel Souza – who suffered “serious bodily injuries” during the show – seeks at least $ 1 million in damages from a multitude of defendants, including Scott and Live Nation, according to a petition filed in Harris County District Court.
Reps for Scott and Drake did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday evening. Live Nation did not comment.
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A second lawsuit, also claiming $ 1 million, was filed by 23-year-old participant Kristian Paredes. He accuses Scott and Drake of inciting “a riot and violence,” and claims the venue and Live Nation failed to provide adequate medical and security services.
Paredes, who says the injuries he sustained at the show were “serious,” says he “felt an immediate push” up front of the general admissions section, before “the crowd turned chaotic and let a rush begin “.
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“Many security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment asked for help, but were ignored,” reads the trial, according to the BBC.
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Multiple sources report on Monday morning that more lawsuits are coming from many parties.
The victims were killed near the scene as crowds rushed forward, some suffering from cardiac arrests and other medical trauma, officials said.
The dead were between 14 and 27, with a victim’s age yet to be determined, Turner said. Officials had not yet identified them, but some details have emerged in the media.
The Houston Chronicle identified the youngest victim as John Hilgert, a freshman in high school who played football and baseball and arrived early to have a good place to watch the show.
He went with a 15-year-old friend, the Chronicle reported, citing an interview with the friend’s mother, Tracy Faulkner. She bought her son her ticket as a birthday present, a decision she now regrets, the Chronicle said.
“They were both in the same place at the same time and one came home and the other that we’ll never see,” Faulkner said.
“John was a good student and athlete and very polite. He was the sweetest and smartest young man, ”she said.
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The Chronicle identified another victim as Danish Baig, 27, who died trying to protect his fiance from the crushing crowd, according to Baig’s younger brother Basil Mirza Baig.
“I lost my brother,” Basil Mirza Baig said in tears. “He was trying to save her from the stampede. “
The second day of the two-day show has been canceled.
The unrest began shortly after 9 p.m. Friday when the crowd compressed near the stage causing panic, Pena said. By 9:30 p.m. it was clear that people needed medical attention, and Scott recognized that an ambulance was moving through the crowd, stopping and encouraging the crowd to make room.
But Scott returned to the stage, telling the crowd he wanted to “hear the ground shake.”
At one point, spectators approached the stage crew and begged them to stop the show, according to a video on social media.
Scott finished his set at 9:42 p.m., the Chronicle reported.
Scott, a Grammy-nominated singer and producer, said in a video posted to social media on Saturday night: “I just couldn’t imagine the gravity of the situation.”
– With files from Chris Jancelewicz of Global News