Some social media users are suggesting a link to “Satanism” following the deadly mob at the Astroworld concert in Houston last week that left at least eight people dead and one 9-year-old boy in a coma.
For months, law enforcement officials in Houston raised concerns about safety during the festival. Police Chief Troy Finner even met with headliner Travis Scott just before his Friday night concert began, warning the rapper about the energy in the crowd, according to The New York Times.
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The repeated warnings, though, were not heeded. Two of the eight people crushed to death amid the chaos were teenagers, ages 14 and 16. Even still, according to law enforcement, the concert only ended 30 minutes ahead of schedule but nearly 40 minutes after a “mass causality event” had been declared by city authorities.
From The Times:
Fire Chief Samuel Peña said on Sunday that Mr. Scott and the organizers could have stepped in and paused the show.
“The one person who can really call for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is that performer. They have that bully pulpit and they have a responsibility,” Chief Peña said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “If somebody would have said, ‘Hey, shut this thing down and turn on the lights until this thing gets corrected’ — and that coming from the person with the mic — I think could have been very helpful.”
Mr. Scott and Live Nation declined to respond to specific questions, but they have said they will be cooperating with the investigation. Mr. Scott, one of the biggest names in rap music with a huge social media following and his own record label, said in an Instagram video that he did not know how bad things had gotten in the crowd.
In the wake of the deadly tragedy, TikTok users racked up millions of views with videos pointing out that the stage was shaped like an inverted cross and that Scott was wearing a T-shirt with what looked to be red, horned demons printed on it. Others argued there was a dark meaning behind the design of the stage, which looked like a “portal” with the message, “See ya on the other side,” at the center.
Many of the videos posted to social media purport to show severe negligence on the part of Scott and his crew. One viral video in particular shows a panicked man and woman climbing up a ladder to the video team, screaming to them that someone in the audience had died and urging them to “stop the show.” The workers ignored their pleas, shooing them away.
Those who attended the chaotic show described the harrowing scene as “scary.”
“It was scary, like, genuinely,” 21-year-old Alleighya Odom told NBC News. “I started looking around and there’s people on the ground. There’s people looking at me, like, scared, eyes wild, like, ‘Please help me!’”
Another concertgoer, 17-year-old Nick Johnson, told The Times the show was “like hell,” adding, “Everybody was just in the back, trying to rush to the front.”
“I’m glad none of us got hurt, but we saw people passing out and just getting injured,” a third attendee told the local news outlet KHOU-TV. “There was just so many people there. It felt like a million people at once, people passing out, couldn’t even catch your breath.”
Jeffrey Schmidt, who attended the event, told CNN: “This was not a concert; this was a fight for survival.”
“I witnessed multiple people unconscious and unable to breath, as people under me were crying for my help,” he said. “But I physically could not help. That is what traumatized me the most, that I could not help the people around me. I felt heartbroken for them and their families.”
The whole event left him “terrified,” he said.
Selena Beltran, another fan, described the ordeal as a “nightmare,” recalling to CNN she was “shocked to see people act so inconsiderate and feral.”
“It was insane to see so many just run others over like wild animals,” she said. “People did not care, they still tried to squeeze through just to get to the front without thinking of the consequences and who it would affect.”
DJ and concertgoer Billy Nasser called the show a “death trap,” telling CNNl: “I picked some kid up and his eyes rolled to the back of his head, so I checked his pulse. I knew he was dead. I checked the people around me. And I just had to leave him there. There was nothing I could do. I had to keep going.”
“Kids were dropping left and right,” he added.
At one point during the show, Scott seemingly paused the performance after learning a fan had passed out. The rapper apparently hummed eerily as the man was carried away.
Amid all the chaos, Finner confirmed to TMZ that one of the security guards at the show was pricked in the neck with a syringe, causing the guard to quickly lose consciousness. The security guard, who was trying to restrain a citizen at the time he was jabbed, was treated with NARCAN.
It should be noted, too, the mad frenzy started before the show began, with fans breaking through the fence and rushing into the already sold-out Astroworld Festival.
In a video statement posted to his Instagram Story over the weekend, Scott said he is “just devastated,” adding, “We’re actually working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them through his tough time.”
Scott said he was not aware of the deadly turn the show had taken.
“Any time I could make out, you know, anything that’s going on, you know, I just stopped my show and, you know, helped them get the help they need,” he said.
Finner, for his part, said the police department has opened a criminal investigation led by homicide and narcotics detectives, due to concertgoers purportedly injecting people with drugs.
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