Houston’s chief of police was evidently so concerned with the crowd early on at the Astroworld Festival on Friday night, that he personally went to rapper Travis Scott‘s trailer to share his worries.
Hours later, as we’ve been reporting, eight people died and hundreds more were injured in an apparent crowd rush, as the 30-year-old rapper continued to perform while paramedics and EMTs were trying desperately to save victims’ lives.
According to a new report from the New York Times, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner (pictured above, at a press conference from this weekend) was so unnerved by the early antics and behavior of the massive crowd at the fest that he specifically visited with the Texan native to convey his concern.
The police chief expressed trepidation over “the energy in the crowd,” noting that the “anticipation of the festival had been escalating for months,” according to the news report. The chief apparently believed the energy came about for several reasons, including heightened anticipation following the COVID pandemic of the past two years, as well as the fact that tickets for the event had gone for hundreds of dollars, and Scott himself has had a disturbing history of poor crowd control at his concerts.
According to TMZ, the chief “knew Travis personally” and “admired him for all the good work he did” in his hometown. That’s significant, because it would mean the alleged crowd concern appears to have come about without prior bad blood between the performer and his hometown’s law enforcement arm. Scott has had a history of tangling with law enforcement doing crowd control at some of his other concerts. (To his credit, this weekend, Travis openly praised and thanked the Houston PD for their hard work in the aftermath of the tragedy.)
Even though Chief Finner’s intentions and concerns early on that day were clear, TMZ further reports that there may have been some sort of miscommunication between that conversation and the later terrible events that evening. Sources “connected” to Kylie Jenner‘s partner tell the outlet that the chief “never told Travis to pull the plug” on the show. Furthermore, they claim that the fire marshal “was also mum” as the event unfolded, and that the rapper “was never told to stop the show prior to 10:10 p.m.” via his in-ear listening device.
Scott’s team is also now alleging that officers working security near the stage “were filming the concert on their cell phones.” And, to top it off, Travis reportedly couldn’t see what was happening in the crowd “because of the pyrotechnics, strobe lights, and all.” Whether any of that is completely true, or is simply being put forth to take some of the heat off the Astroworld performer is unclear at this point.
What appears to be clear is that Chief Finner’s team may truly have at least understood early on that something could happen during the festival weekend. TMZ further reports that there were “only 47 security personnel on-hand” two years ago when this festival took place, but there were “528 security members at this event,” indicating some acknowledgement of what might come.
Here’s more from Chief Finner in the aftermath of the tragedy, including other new information about a person working security at Friday night’s show who was reportedly pricked in the neck with what police now believe was a syringe by an unknown individual:
Such a sad, scary situation all around.
Obviously, the investigation — and the associated lawsuits — will continue for some time to come.
In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families, friends, and loved ones of the eight people who died on Friday night, and those otherwise seriously affected by this tragedy, as well.
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