Jonathan and Bryan Espinoza, brothers, claim they witnessed “chaos” at the Astroworld Festival from the moment they stepped inside.
On Friday night, a crowd surge at a music festival in Houston killed eight people and injured dozens more. “Fans immediately bust down a fence while we’re walking to get our ticket scanned in,” Jonathan said on Thursday.
During a press conference on Saturday, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pea stated that the concert’s entrances and exits were not a problem. “Getting in and out of that venue was not an issue,” Pea said.
Bryan, Jonathan’s brother, said he hasn’t been able to sleep since the tragic events of Friday. Attorney Rick Ramos, who represents the brothers and several other festivalgoers, has announced that he will file a class action lawsuit against the festival’s organizer and headliner Travis Scott.
As investigators and attendees seek to learn more about what caused the deadly crowd crush, a slew of civil lawsuits are being filed on behalf of those who attended the show.
As of Wednesday, at least 58 civil lawsuits had been filed in Harris County District Court in connection with the disaster, questioning city officials, concert organizers, and performers about how the concert was allowed to continue while people were dying in the melee. At a news conference on Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner stated that the “ultimate authority to end a show (was) with production and the entertainer, and that should be through communication with public safety officials.”
According to authorities, first responders began receiving reports of injuries in the crowd around 9:30 p.m., and the show continued for another 40 minutes.
According to Finner, their investigation revealed that police personnel informed the production team in charge of the performance that CPR was being performed on at least one individual and that the show should be canceled. Finner did not specify who the production team is or when the notifications will be sent. Questions have also been raised about the actions of Live Nation, the show’s promoter and organizer, as well as Scott, who has stated that he had no idea what was going on in the crowd during his set.
However, Scott’s representatives are disputing city officials’ interpretations of his role in the surge.
Scott’s attorney, Edwin F. McPherson, issued a statement Wednesday blasting Houston city officials for “finger-pointing,” “inconsistent messages,” and backtracking on statements. A clear chain of command in the event of an incident is laid out in a 56-page operations plan, identifying the role of the executive producer as well as the festival director as the only individuals with the authority to halt the concert.
McPherson also mentioned Finner’s comments on Saturday about authorities being concerned about the show being cut short due to potential rioting from concertgoers.
Speaking from Houston, Rawlings-Blake stated that she spent more than four hours with Scott on Wednesday and that she is working with him to ensure that they are speaking with city administration and promoters. Finner said at a news conference on Wednesday that it was too early to say whether charges would be filed in connection with the disaster, but that investigators were working on it “We will not leave any stone unturned. “
He estimated that the investigation into the crowd crush would take “weeks, if not months.”
The chief clarified earlier reports, saying there was no evidence a security guard at the festival was given a drug-laced injection, but was instead struck in the head and knocked unconscious.
Moreover, despite Finner’s statement on Wednesday that an independent investigation is unnecessary, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo may direct a potential third party to conduct one.
“What happened this weekend at Astroworld was a horrific tragedy, and the families of those who died deserve answers. There could be criminal liability, which is why we remain fully committed to the Houston Police Department’s criminal investigation “Rafael Lemaitre, Hidalgo’s communications director, stated
According to cousin Mohit Bellani, Bharti Shahani, 22, attended the concert with her cousin and younger sister. Shahani is on a ventilator and in critical condition after suffering multiple injuries, according to family attorney James Lassiter.
According to his family, a 9-year-old boy was also seriously injured at the festival and is currently in a medically induced coma. Survivors of the surge describe scenes where many attendees were pressed together and at times unable to stay upright.