As the investigation continues into Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival disaster, the Houston fire chief says the rapper “absolutely” should have halted the show. That’s just one of the latest developments — as Drake, a guest performer at the show, is also speaking out and the Kardashians publicly offer support to Kylie Jenner’s partner.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said on Tuesday’s Today show they’re “starting to get some picture of what may have caused” the tragedy, in which eight people have died and more than 300 suffered injuries. It started at 9 p.m. Friday, as Scott performed and fans pushed toward the stage. By 9:38 p.m. authorities deemed it a mass-casualty event and the first patient was treated two minutes later. However, the Grammy-nominated star, who’s said he wasn’t aware of the extent of what was happening in the sold-out crowd of 50,000, despite an ambulance being in the crowd — continued performing until 10:15 p.m.
Asked if Scott should have paused the show, Peña replied, “Absolutely.”
He continued, “The artist has command of that crowd. In my opinion, and this is my opinion right now because everything is going to be fleshed out throughout this investigation, but certainly, the artist, if he notices something that’s going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey we’re not going to continue until this thing is resolved.'”
While Scott has a history of riling up his crowds — for which he faced criminal charges — Peña said no evidence has been collected so far suggesting he initiated this.
“No, not at this point,” he replied. “I’m not prepared to say that. I’m not prepared to say he was fully aware of what was going on.”
The Houston Police Department is leading the criminal investigation, but nobody has been charged. The FBI is now involved as well.
Meanwhile, Darius Williams, one of hundreds of security guards hired to work the festival through Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), told TMZ he quit the day of the festival because he felt inadequately prepared. Williams said he went through training just one day before the show and said he witnessed incompetence on the day of the event, including feeling unequipped to handle the massive crowds.
A job listing for Williams’s gig said the role paid $10 to $13 an hour.
Drake, a special performer at the show who has been named in at least one of the lawsuits, broke his silence on Tuesday.
“I’ve spent the past few days trying to wrap my mind around this devastating tragedy,” he wrote on Instagram. “I hate resorting to this platform to express an emotion as delicate as grief but this is where I find myself. My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering. I will continue to pray for all of them, and will be of service in any way that I can. May God be with you all.”
Kylie’s sisters Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner posted supportive messages to Scott — and said they are praying for the victims. Kim’s message has also been shared by Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian.
Scott canceled his appearance this weekend at Day N Vegas Festival with a source saying he’s “too distraught” to take the stage. It has been announced Post Malone will fill in.
There are now dozens of lawsuits filed as of Monday — and more are expected as the week goes on. The defendants are largely the same: ScoreMore Shows (promotions and management), Live Nation (ticketing), Contemporary Services Corporation (security), Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation (property owner) and Scott.
Drake was also named on one of the lawsuits seeking $1 million.
Witnesses have said they saw people being trampled and victims on the ground struggling to breathe.
“They passed out. And they were on the ground and basically getting trampled. And no one would pick them up,” concertgoer Billy Nasser told CNN. “There was just too many people there. It was overcrowded. The way the barricades were set up had people trapped in. It was a death trap.”
The eighth victim has been identified as Madison Dubiski, 23. The others, ranging in age from 14 to 27, are Axel Acosta, 21; Danish Baig, 27; John Hilgert, 14; Jacob E. Jurinek, 20; Franco Patino, 21; Rudy Peña, 23,; Brianna Rodriguez, 16.
Among the injured is a 9-year-old boy who’s currently in the hospital in a coma.
Scott, who previously pled guilty to charges in 2015 and 2017 after incidents involving fans rushing the stage and jumping barricades at concerts, spoke out through his lawyer again Monday.
“Travis remains in active conversations with the city of Houston, law enforcement and local first responders to respectfully and appropriately connect with the individuals and families of those involved,” his attorney said. “These are the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as a part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process.”
In addition to covering funeral costs for the eight people victims, Scott partnered with BetterHelp to supply free online therapy to attendees in need, and will provide full refunds to those who bought tickets to the Astroworld Festival, which he founded in 2018 in his hometown.
On Saturday, he previously expressed his shock over the tragedy — as did his pregnant girlfriend Kylie, who was at the show with the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Stormi.
Kylie wrote on Instagram Sunday, “I want to make it clear we weren’t aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would have continued filming or performing.”