Houston’s Police Chief has walked back his statement that a security guard at Astroworld had been pricked with a needle before the deadly stampede that claimed the lives of eight concertgoers.
Police interviewed the guard reported to have been jabbed while helping a fan, but the guard disputed that was injected in the neck by someone in the crowd, top cop Troy Finner said Wednesday.
“We did locate that security guard. His story’s not consistent with that (being injected). He says he was struck on his head … he went unconscious … he woke up in the security tent,” the chief told reporters.
“He says that no one injected drugs in him.”
The police chief said Saturday that they believed the guard was injected with a possible opioid after medical staff said he was administered Narcan, a drug used to revive people who have overdosed on opioids, and they saw what looked like a needle mark on his neck.
Meanwhile, Finner said event organizers have not provided investigators with clear records about private security personnel working the grounds during rapper Travis Scott’s performance.
It was up to promoter Live Nation Entertainment to secure two mosh pits in front of the stage Friday night, the chief said, adding that staffing records handed over by organizers were “just not good.”
Finner said police told organizers to shut down the show when fans were administered CPR, but he repeatedly declined to provide timelines, making it unclear at what point that order came and how much longer the show lasted after the directive was issued.
“When you say authority and ability to end the show, we don’t hold the plug. But it’s always in the plan, it’s always a discussion of how that would happen,” Finner said. “We had those discussions with the promoters.”
Earlier in the day, Scott’s attorneys pointed to an operational plan for the event that states only that the festival director and executive producers have the authority to halt the show, “neither of which is part of Travis’s crew.”
“Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again,” attorney Edwin McPherson said in a statement.
Finner also defended his department’s ability to handle the criminal probe by itself and said he did not have a close relationship with Scott, who is from Houston and founded the festival.
He said he expressed safety concerns to Scott before the show but did not go into detail, adding that said he has only ever spoken with the rapper twice
“I had no reason to believe that it wasn’t going to be safe,” Finner said. “But I’m the kind of chief that I meet with people whenever I can, and that includes him. We had a very respectful, few minute conversation on my concerns.”
The chief said that about 530 of his officers worked the festival, more than twice as many as when the festival was last held in 2019.
He noted that the probe was still in the early stages and said he would not “cast blame” on any organization.
At least 50 lawsuits have been filed against Live Nation Entertainment and Scott because of deaths and injuries related to the ill-fated concert, according to Reuters.
With Post wires