FBI joins criminal investigation into Astroworld music festival deaths

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HOUSTON (NewsNation Now) – A 56-page event operations plan for the Astroworld music festival included protocols for dangerous scenarios including an active shooter, bombs or terrorist threats and extreme weather, but it doesn’t Did not include information on what to do in the event of a large crowd.

But that’s what authorities believe happened on Friday night when eight people died after headliner Travis Scott took the stage at the Houston outdoor festival that is now the subject of a criminal investigation. Authorities said 50,000 people attended the event.

“In any situation where large groups of people congregate, there is a risk of civil unrest/riots which may pose a serious risk to the safety and security of employees and guests,” the plan states. “The key to successfully managing this type of scenario is good crowd management as soon as the gates open. Crowd management techniques will be used to identify potentially dangerous crowd behavior in its early stages with the aim of preventing a disruption civil/riot.

If crowds display threatening or destructive behavior, security and a supervisor should be notified, according to the plan.

Experts say crowd-influx deaths are happening because people are crammed into such a tight space that they are in a rush and cannot get oxygen. It’s usually not because they’re being stepped on.

None of the people listed in charge of managing Astroworld’s security and operations responded to requests for comment.

It comes as the FBI joined a criminal investigation into the causes of pandemonium during the sold-out Astroworld festival. On Tuesday, city officials were in the early stages of investigating the causes of the chaos as a prominent local official called for a separate, independent review of the tragedy.

The city’s police and fire department have been deeply involved in the festival’s security measures, playing a key role in crowd control measures, on-site security personnel and emergency response. The police chief even says he met headliner Travis Scott before the show.

One of the youngest injured in the chaos was 9-year-old Ezra Blount. He is in an induced coma with brain damage after falling off his father’s shoulders as crowds poured in during the festival. Ezra was trampled by the mob.

Lola Lingos and her friend Grace Williams were two of the approximately 50,000 people at Astroworld. Videos taken by friends show Lingos being crushed by the mob.

“We couldn’t give up the fence. I had to get a guy to pick me up and throw me over the fence on the ground,” Lingos said. “I think I didn’t even land on my feet. I had to have someone literally pick up my whole body and throw me out.

The couple said they saw three dead bodies and no doctor in the area to help them.

“Everyone was screaming stop the show, stop,” Lingos said. “No one was doing anything, like everyone was trying to stop him but nothing was happening.”

Williams said the teenagers were the ones doing CPR because there were no doctors to help them.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner defended how long it took for the concert to be canceled after the first signs of trouble. The police chief said his department immediately notified concert organizers after noticing attendees were “going down”. The event was canceled 40 minutes later after discussions between firefighters and NRG park officials.

“You can’t just close when you have 50,000 – over 50,000 – people, okay?” says Finner. “We have to worry about riots – riots – when you have such a young group.”

Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva declined to comment on questions about whether her close involvement in the event created a dispute or whether she was considering turning the investigation over to an outside agency. Such decisions are often made in the context of investigations such as police shootings.

The police department’s investigation would be separate from any independent investigation ordered by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County’s top lawmaker, according to Rafael Lemaitre, spokesperson for the county judge’s office. Hidalgo has not decided who would conduct such an independent review or how it would be done, Lemaitre said Monday.

The dead, according to friends and family members, included a 14-year-old high school student, a 16-year-old girl who loved to dance and a 21-year-old engineering student at the University of Dayton. The youngest was 14, the oldest 27.

On Monday, Variety reported that Scott would be refunding all festival attendees and that he would not be performing at an upcoming Las Vegas festival this weekend.

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