Houston Police Chief Troy Fenner refused to hand over the criminal investigation to an external agency on Wednesday Walk into Travis Scott’s Deadly Astronomy Festival, Even though he and other local officials Connection with the hometown rapper.
At a briefing at the police headquarters in downtown Houston, Fenner said that he planned to meet with local FBI officials on Friday to discuss the investigation, but “it needs to be clear that the HPD homicide is being investigated. We are taking the lead” and “Those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable.”
“We have nowhere to go now,” Fenner added. “When necessary, I am not opposed to independent investigations. There is no guarantee now.”
Critics have been Call for independent investigation Entered Friday’s holiday after 8 people (14-27 years old) died and were injured in the melee. The two are still hospitalized in critical condition.More than a dozen lawsuits Victims accused of wrongdoing file a lawsuit.
“How does the police department investigate itself?” said Tony Buzbee, a Houston lawyer representing the family of a 21-year-old man Who is Among the victims.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who gave Scott the key to the city in 2019, said over the weekend that he knew Scott’s sister, mother and grandmother, but he Not close to Scott. (Turner did not respond to an interview request on Wednesday.) Before the concert began, Fenner visited Scott and his security director in Scott’s trailer to discuss public safety issues.
Fenner said at the briefing that he didn’t know Scott well and he had only met the rapper twice, including before the concert. “That’s not very close,” he said.
Fenner said he met Scott before the concert because “I’m the kind of chief who likes to talk to people.”
“I have no reason to believe that it will not be safe,” he said.
Fenner said the Houston police have 530 police officers in Astroworld, an increase from 170 when the festival began three years ago. When asked whether it is appropriate for the Houston police to investigate colleagues who provide security after get off work at Astroworld, Fenner said: “Why not? We have been investigating ourselves. I am proud of what we did in Houston. …by my agency to investigate.”
Houston Police Criminal homicide and drug investigations were launched over the weekendFenner said that detectives have been working “round the clock”, checking forensic evidence, interviewing concert audiences and viewing hours of video shot from the air and on the ground. The autopsy is still waiting for Wednesday. Fenner said that the initial report that a security guard was stabbed in the neck by a needle was untrue. The concert organizers and contractors said they are cooperating with the investigation. The police have received records from the Astroworld security department, Fenner said, but “I feel uncomfortable with what they gave us,” added, “It’s just not good. record of.”
Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that he had established a Texas concert safety task force, which included an unidentified “security experts, law enforcement, firefighters, state Organizations, music industry leaders” list to hold roundtable discussions and develop a report. The organization will “analyze the safety of concerts and develop methods to enhance the safety of live music events in Texas… to ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Music Festival does not happen again.”
In addition to working groups and criminal investigations, Lina Hidalgo, CEO of Houston Harris County, said that she is considering whether to hire an external team to investigate Astroworld. “This is an independent, objective and can help us improve. matter.”
One of her main questions is: “Is this tragedy caused by a situation beyond the control of the people involved?”
The company that provides security and medical services at Astroworld submitted extensive plans to the police before the concert and stated that they are cooperating with the investigation.
Juda Engelmayer, a spokesperson for ParaDocs Worldwide Inc., which provides medical services to Astroworld, said: “We believe that the facts will prove that the care we provide has followed proper protocols and operating procedures.” Sufficient medical supplies have been prepared for a large number of people, and local officials have been complied with. Request to forward the emergency call to 911.
But Houston Fire Chief Samuel Penha said that the medical staff at the concert “was quickly overwhelmed.”
“When it started to reach the place where the patient was critical, unconscious, cardiac arrest calling, I was glad we were pre-positioned,” Pegna said, noting that he stationed 10 to 15 firefighters at the concert, including accidents And shift commander.
“We moved on and took additional steps. We just wanted to set up a unit in the area to make sure we can get there quickly,” he said.
Boozby, a Republican, forced Turner into the mayoral runoff in 2019, but ultimately lost. He said he had spoken to more than 100 concert audiences he planned to represent and obtained radio traffic from the Houston Fire and Police Department to compile a timetable showing that Houston officials knew that Astroworld’s security was open for a few minutes on Friday Nei was threatened.They announced that the “mass casualty incident” lasted until 9:38 pm, and Scott — originally scheduled to perform until 11 pm — continued to perform until shortly after 10 pm
Buzbee said that at 9:15 on Friday, Houston police could hear the voice of preparing to open Astroworld on their radio. He said that by 9:23 in the morning, the police said via radio that people had broken through the concert’s door and bypassed the COVID-19 checkpoint.
“At 10:02, they noticed that the fence was damaged and the venue was out of control. By 10:05, the crowd had broken through the merchandise line,” he said, “moving like a mob.”
Buzbee said the Houston firefighters radioed that they could not control the participants. By 11 am, officials said on the radio that more than a hundred people had jumped over the fence. Concert audiences reported that they saw groups of people roaming the venue without wristbands, which indicated that they had purchased tickets.
Buzbee said: “They basically push away fences and obstacles without checking tickets or anything.” “They should stop it. The question will be, for those in power: why don’t you?”
Fenner declined to discuss the timetable, saying it was too early to investigate. But he said that the police were aware in advance that people would try to cross the fence and enter. Once the merchandise tent was opened and flooded, this would become a problem, but the police had “controlled the situation”. He said he did not stop his activities because “I think it is unfair to those who have spent a lot of money to get in.”
“The ultimate power to end the performance is through the production and the artists,” he said.
Scott’s lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, issued a statement after the briefing, questioning why Fenner and other city officials said Scott was responsible for stopping the show.
The statement said: “There have been multiple accusations, most of which came from city officials who sent inconsistent information and withdrew from the initial statement,” and pointed out that in 2019, the Houston police “turned off the power supply and the sound performance exceeded Five minutes of this holiday.”
The statement said: “Investigations should start, not blame each other, so that we can accurately determine what happened and how we can prevent similar things from happening again.”
Buzbee insisted that records showed that the crowd was “just as bad, or even worse” a few hours before Scott took the stage, and some concert audiences “have received medical transportation before Travis Scott took the stage”.
“The leader also knows. That’s why he talked to Travis Scott-because it was a very fragile situation. They asked for riot gear that morning. They used the term “thug” many times. Why did they let the show go on? ?” Bouzby said.
Buzbee stated that he “currently” has no plans to sue the city or county against Astroworld.
He said that his two teenage sons participated in the first Astroworld in 2018, but they chose not to come back after feeling unsafe in the crowd. He said that Scott was called “playing” in the final home game of the Astros World Series, “He can almost do what he wants here. I’m sure, despite what happened, it will not close.” It’s a lot of pressure.”
“Scott enjoys a high reputation in this town because he did a great job when he was young and has a good reputation throughout the country. He bought a $23 million house in Los Angeles, but I think once this comes out, People will look at him again,” Bouzby said of the timeline that led to the death of his client’s son, 21-year-old Western Washington University student Axel Acosta. “This will be a very damn story.”
Concert audience Xavier Rosales said that he and his girlfriend watched the crowd before Acosta died.
“We can see him trying to get out. You can see the panic on his face,” said Rosales, a student at the University of Houston.
Rosales, 25, said he saw Acosta fall from the crowd near the front of the crowd.
“He tried to stand up, he was screaming for help. There was nothing we could do—the pressure was too high, everyone was putting pressure on each other,” Rosales said. “He was really panicked. This is a face I will never forget.”