Houston Police Department holds press conference on Astroworld investigation

Houston, Texas – On Wednesday afternoon, the Houston Police Department held a press conference to update the public about the ongoing investigation of the mass casualty event that transpired at Astroworld music festival on November 5.

The Houston Police Department chief Troy Finner spoke to reporters on Wednesday regarding the investigation into the Astroworld mass casualty incident.
The Houston Police Department chief Troy Finner spoke to reporters on Wednesday regarding the investigation into the Astroworld mass casualty incident.  © IMAGO/ ZUMA Wire & Xinhua

Chief of the Houston Police Department (HPD) Troy Finner spoke to the press about the criminal investigation, and pleaded for the public to let law enforcement do their jobs.

"Allow us to let the investigation lead us to the facts as to what, how, and why this occurred," Finner said. "Assumptions and opinions are not helpful. Our detectives will focus on facts and evidence."

On Friday, there was a mass casualty incident at Astroworld festival during Travis Scott's performance that left eight dead and many more injured.

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The police chief indicated that HPD's homicide department had taken the lead on the investigation into the tragic event.

During the conference, Finner stated numerous times that HPD was not involved in writing the contract for the event, pointing to NRG, Live Nation, and Harris County as the authors.

The police chief said that HPD was not involved in this process because Astroworld was not a City of Houston sanctioned event, but a Harris County one.

According to Finner, the department does not yet have toxicology reports and hasn't determined a cause of death for the eight individuals who lost their lives.

When asked about whether he thinks criminal charges will be filed as a result of the ongoing investigation, Finner said, "I'm not sure, and I'm not comfortable with saying that. I will tell you that we're not gonna leave any stones unturned."

He continued, "Our department owes it to those families, just as I said, to look at every aspect of how and why it happened."

Many questions remain unanswered

Travis Scott performs during the second annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 9, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
Travis Scott performs during the second annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 9, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  © IMAGO/ ZUMA Wire

According to Finner, there were 530 officers on the outskirts of the event. In 2018, HPD sent 170 officers, and in 2019 they sent 240 officers.

The question of how this could occur with such an uptick in law enforcement present compared to years past was something Finner refused to speculate on, citing it was a part of the department's ongoing investigation.

Other matters the chief refused to speak about were the timeline of events and why Scott wasn't alerted there was a mass casualty incident taking place, as these elements are also a part of HPD's investigation.

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However, Finner did offer a brief response concerning who could've stopped the show once public safety was endangered, saying, "The ultimate authority to end the show is with production and the entertainer."

One thing he clarified during the press conference was the incident involving a security guard who had allegedly been pricked in the neck with a needle, according to the team at the medical tent.

Finner said the statement HPD was given by the medical team did not align with the story provided by the security guard himself. The guard told HPD he was struck in the head, knocked unconscious, and woke up in the security tent – adding that no one injected him with drugs.

In the wake of the mass casualty incident, Scott offered to pay for the funeral costs of the victims who were killed at the show, and shared his condolences to those effected.

"I could never imagine the severity of the situation," Scott said.

On Wednesday, Texas' Governor Greg Abbott announced the creation of what he called the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety in light of the deadly tragedy that occurred at Astroworld music festival.

According to a statement, the task force will be led by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony and will include a panel made up of safety experts, law enforcement, firefighters, music industry leaders, and more.

The newly created task force will hold roundtable discussions to intricately analyze concert safety and create ways to beef up the effectiveness of security at live music events in Texas.

Cover photo: IMAGO/ ZUMA Wire & Xinhua

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