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8 dead, including 2 teenagers, in Astroworld Festival incident

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8 dead after chaos at Houston music festival
8 dead after chaos at Houston music festival 02:20

Rapper Travis Scott on Saturday said he is "absolutely devastated by what took place" Friday night, when at least eight people died at the Astroworld music festival in Houston. Officials said "scores of individuals" were also injured after a crowd surge at the festival, which Scott founded three years ago.  

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old, two 21-year-olds, two 23-year-olds, a 27-year-old and one person of unknown age died.

Twenty-five people were transported to the hospital and 13 remain hospitalized, including five people under the age of 18, Sylvester said Saturday afternoon.

The "mass casualty incident" occurred after 9 p.m. when a crowd began to "compress" toward the front of the stage, "and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries," Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said early Saturday at a press conference.

"People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic," he said.

Chief of Police Troy Finner confirmed Saturday afternoon that authorities are aware of reports of a possible drug spiking incident. Finner said that, while they are investigating the possible drug spiking incident, other victims were clearly trampled. Officials are waiting to receive video footage of the event from Live Nation — they expect to receive the footage later Saturday.

He added that police have received reports that a security officer in the area reported feeling a prick in his neck before losing consciousness. Medical personnel reported administering Narcan and were able to revive him. Medical staff who treated the officer noticed a mark that could have been from an injection, Finner said.

A source close to Astroworld told CBS News the alleged drug spiking incident was a targeted attack on innocent people, including a child.

Peña said 11 people who were transported to the hospital were in cardiac arrest, but authorities won't know the cause of the eight deaths until the medical examiner has completed his investigation.  

About 50,000 people attended the music event on Friday, the first night of a two-day festival. The surge happened while Travis Scott was on-stage.

"At some point, the show was stopped, when the crowd was surging," said Peña.

The event ended early, and the second day of the festival has been canceled. 

Finner said 25 people were arrested during the event — 23 for trespassing, one for marijuana possession and one for public intoxication.

The event had ample security, with 528 Houston police officers and 755 additional private security officers from Live Nation inside NRG Park for the festival, according to Finner. The police chief praised their swift response to the incident.

Scott, 29, founded the Astroworld Festival in 2018. The Houston native has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. He has a daughter with Kylie Jenner, and the couple announced in September they are expecting their second child.

Contributing: The Associated Press 

 

University of Dayton student among those killed

A 21-year-old student attending the University of Dayton was among those killed Friday night, the university announced Saturday. The university identified the student as Franco Patino Naperville, Illinois.

By Jordan Freiman
 

High school freshman among victims who died

A 9th grade student at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, was among the eight people who died at Astroworld Festival on Friday night, the Spring Branch Independent School District announced in a letter sent to families and obtained by CBS affiliate KHOU-TV. 

"Our hearts go out to the student's family and to his friends and our staff at Memorial," the letter read. "This is a terrible loss, and the entire MHS family is grieving today."

The campus has alerted students and staff and has made mental health resources available, KHOU's Melissa Correa reported

By Tori B. Powell
 

Houston police chief emphasizes event had heavy security

Troy Finner, Houston's police chief, said that the city prepared for the concert as they do for any other major event, including amping up their security.

On Friday, 528 Houston police officers and 755 additional private security officers from Live Nation were in NRG Park for the festival. Finner praised their swift response to the incident.

By Sophie Reardon
 

More than 2 dozen people arrested during music festival

Twenty-five people were arrested during the Astroworld Festival on Friday night — 23 for trespassing, one for marijuana possession and one for public intoxication, police chief Troy Finner said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

Finner added that authorities are still waiting for video footage of the event from Live Nation, which they expect to receive later Saturday. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

By Sophie Reardon
 

Harris County judge calls for independent investigation

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has called for an independent investigation into the fatal incident at Astroworld Festival. 

"Nobody should ever expect for a loved one to go to a concert and not return," Hidalgo tweeted on Saturday. "I'm calling for an objective and independent investigation into what happened."

She thanked the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department for their work.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he is "grateful for the first responders and all who assisted at the scene."

"The tragic deaths and injuries that occurred during the #Astrofest event are heartbreaking," Gonzalez tweeted Saturday. "My thoughts and prayers to the persons who lost their lives, the injured and their families." 

By Tori B. Powell
 

"Heartbroken": Festival organizers say they are working with authorities

Live Nation released a statement on Saturday afternoon.

"Heartbroken for those lost and impacted at Astroworld last night," it said. "We will continue working to provide as much information and assistance as possible to the local authorities as they investigate the situation."

NRG Park, where the festival was held, also released a statement.

"We are deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss of life and pain experienced by all those impacted by this tragedy," NRG Park tweeted. "We are fully cooperating and working closely with police and local authorities as they investigate how this tragedy occurred at the Astroworld Festival."

By Sophie Reardon
 

Houston mayor says he believes victims were between 16 and 23 years old

In an interview with CBS affiliate KHOU, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the eight people who died at the music festival were believed to be between the ages of 16 and 23.

By Sophie Reardon
 

Festival attendees said they watched crowd trample over collapsed bodies

Two Astroworld Festival attendees who were in the front row of the event said they felt like they couldn't breathe.

"You're so packed in that you feel like you can't breathe sometimes, you know," one person told reporter Michelle Choi of CBS News affiliate KHOU. "Even this event was outside and we were so compressed that it's like you feel like you can't breathe."

The two said they couldn't even put their arms out in front of them to create space. They said they witnessed people in the crowd collapsing, and saw bodies trampled over.

"It got to the point where we had to walk over people's bodies," one attendee said. "It was crazy. It was just bad. Like we had to walk over people. There's not much you can do when there's 50,000 people in one little area." 

By Tori B. Powell
 

Watch Live: Houston officials give update

The Houston mayor, fire and police officials, and the Houston Office of Emergency Management are holding a press conference Saturday afternoon to give an update on the deadly incident at the Astroworld Festival.

How to watch the Houston officials' news conference 

  • What: Houston city officials are giving an update on the Astroworld Festival tragedy.

  • Date: Saturday, November 6, 2021 

  • Time: 3 p.m. local time; 4 p.m. ET

  • Location: 8686 Kirby Dr. Wyndham Hotel, Houston, Texas 

  • Online stream: Live on CBSN in the video player at the top of this page and on your mobile or streaming device

Note: Streaming plans are subject to change 

By Sophie Reardon
 

Houston's chief medical officer discusses music festival tragedy

At least 8 people dead at Houston music festi... 07:07
By Sophie Reardon
 

Houston mayor calls for detailed briefing

The Houston mayor said Saturday he has called for a briefing from all stakeholders to explain how the music event "got out of control." They include Live Nation, Harris County, NRG Park and police, said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The mayor also extended his condolences to the families of those who died.

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
 

Travis Scott tweets a statement

"I'm absolutely devastated by what took place last night," rapper and festival founder Travis Scott said in a statement on Saturday. 

"Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need."

By Sophie Reardon
 

Police looking into drug spiking incident, source says

A source close to Astroworld told CBS News police are looking into a drug spiking incident in a targeted area of the festival — a targeted attack on innocent people, including a child. 

The crowd surge was from panic because people were running for safety, the source said.  

By Sophie Reardon
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