HOUSTON (AP) — When rapper Travis Scott’s sold-out concert in Houston became a deadly scene of panic and danger in the surging crowd, Edgar Acosta began worrying about his son, who wasn’t answering his phone.
He called the police and hospitals, but they said that his son wasn’t on the victim list from Astroworld. These people were mistaken: Axel Acosta Avila was 21 years old and died on Friday at the Astroworld festival, which was attended roughly 50,000 people. is now the focus of a criminal investigation
Authorities released the names Monday of the deceased as they continue to investigate what happened after a crowd of supporters pressed ahead. Scott took the stageThe. Houston’s police chief said Monday he had met with Scott before the rapper’s performance on Friday about safety concerns but did not elaborate about what, specifically, concerned him.
“They told me, Mr. Acosta, your son is not on the list so you don’t have to worry about anything. He’s not on the list of dead people or injured people” said Edgar Acosta, whose family is among those suing organizers of the festival.
“I told them, ’Well, he didn’t spend the night at his hotel, so I’m worried about him.’”
Investigators from Houston’s police and fire departments have indicated that they will review footage taken by Live Nation concert promoters, along with dozens of videos recorded at the event from witnesses. These clips were also widely shared via social media. The investigators plan to talk with Scott and other Live Nation personnel.
Live Nation stated Monday in a statement that all surveillance footage at the festival was provided to authorities. It also said that the company had stopped removing equipment when investigators were on the ground. According to Live Nation, all festival attendees will receive full refunds.
Scott’s scheduled appearance at the Day N Vegas Festival in Las Vegas this weekend was canceled, according to a Scott representative who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Scott, the founder of Astroworld, stated that he would pay for funeral expenses. According to Harris County officials, the dead ranged in age from 14-27 and came from Texas, Illinois, and Washington. They included high schoolersAspired Border Patrol Agent and Computer Science Student.
More than 300 were treated in the field hospital and 13 were admitted to hospital. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said his meeting with Scott before the show included the rapper’s head of a security. The police released a statement that did not include details about the conversation, but Finner said so.
“I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team’s social media messaging on any scheduled events,” Finner said. “The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety concerns as Chief of Police.”
Investigators also interviewed witnesses, and were planning to inspect the safety barriers designed and how crowd control was used during the event.
“It’s not the crowd’s fault at all, because there was no way you could even move, it was just like a mass loss of control,” said 19-year-old festivalgoer Ben Castro. On Monday, he returned to the scene to place flowers in a temporary memorial. It included candles, notes and T-shirts. He said he didn’t know anyone had died until the next day.
Michele Arnold, spokeswoman for Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, stated that medical examiners still have not revealed the cause of death. This could take many weeks.
According to Texas county records, Contemporary Services Corp. was the security company at the festival. It is headquartered in Los Angeles. The company describes itself online as being “recognized worldwide as the pioneer, expert and only employee owned company in the crowd management field.” Company representatives have not responded to emails and phone messages seeking comment.
Astroworld’s organizers had laid out security and emergency medical response protocols in festival plans filed with Harris County. A 56-page operations plan, obtained by AP, states “the potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation are identified as key concerns.”
The plan instructs staff to “notify Event Control of a suspected deceased victim utilizing the code ‘Smurf’.” It goes on to say, “never use the term ‘dead’ or ‘deceased’ over the radio.” It’s not clear whether the protocol was followed.
None of the people listed in charge of managing Astroworld’s security and operations have responded to requests for comment.
It is not uncommon for concerts to be ravaged by similar disasters. In 1979, 11 people were killed as thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum to see a concert by The Who Andere crowd catastrophesIncluded the death of 97 persons at Hillsborough Stadium soccer match in Sheffield in 1989 and many other catastrophes associated with the annual hajj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia.
This story has been updated to correct the name of Axel Acosta Avila’s father to Edgar, not Edward.
This report was contributed by Paul J. Weber, Austin, Texas, Jake Bleiberg, Dallas, Randall Chase, Dover, Delaware, Kristin M. Hal, Nashville.