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Houston police release Astroworld report

The 1,266-page report includes details of multiple witness interviews as well as a timeline of the 2021 disaster in Texas

By James Hanley on 31 Jul 2023

Coachella 2020 line-up revealed

Travis Scott


image © Frank Schwichtenberg

Houston police has published its full report on the 2021 Astroworld tragedy.

Ten concertgoers, aged between nine and 27, died following a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s headline set at the 50,000-cap festival, promoted by Live Nation and Austin-based Scoremore, at Houston’s NRG Park, Texas in November 2021. All of those who died suffered from compression asphyxia.

The 1,266-page report includes details of multiple witness interviews, including Scott and special guest Drake, as well as a timeline of events on the night.

“Travis stated that towards the middle/end of the show, just before the guest (Drake) took the stage, he was instructed to end the show after he (Drake) was done,” says the report. “He stated that normally if it was something drastic, someone would have to come hit the button or pull the plug.”

According to the document, Scott was later told: “Yo Trav, you got to wrap it up, it’s getting kinda hectic out there,” via his earpiece, but was not informed of the severity of the situation.

Drake told police it was difficult to see any crowd problems from his vantage point due there being “a lot of lights”

Drake told police it was difficult to see any crowd problems from his vantage point due there being “a lot of lights”, adding, “he was also focusing on his foot placement because he was concerned about his knee which he had recently had surgery”.

The report also reveals text messages sent by security contractor Reece Wheeler to a colleague, Shawna Boardman, which said: “Stage right of main is getting crushed. This is bad. Pull tons over the rail unconscious. There’s panic in people eyes. This could get worse quickly.”

In subsequent messages, Wheeler warned “someone’s going to end up dead”.

“I would pull the plug but that’s just me,” he said. “I know they’ll try to fight through it but I would want it on the record that I didn’t advise this to continue. Someone’s going to end up dead.”

Boardman’s attorneys said that she realised Wheeler “was wrong in his assessment”, and went to the area to make sure it was populated with the correct staff.

It was confirmed last month that no criminal charges will be filed over the tragedy

“She saw paramedics, police officers, security guards, and no unconscious people,” continues the report. “Shawna did not see any panic and saw a strong police presence. She said police were taking pictures of the show with their phones which reflected the matter as not extremely dangerous or a sense of emergency.”

Boardman did not relay information in Wheeler’s text to anyone else. “She did not reply to him. He does not get on the
radio or tell anyone else,” it adds.

It was confirmed last month that no criminal charges will be filed over the tragedy after a grand jury issued six no-bills related to the deaths. Jurors declined to charge Scott (real name Jaques Webster II), festival manager Brent Silberstein, John Junell of Live Nation, security planners Boardman and Seyth Boardman of Contemporary Services Corporation, and Emily Ockenden, formerly of event production company BWG, after reviewing all the evidence.

“It is tragic that 10 innocent people were killed while trying to enjoy an evening of music and entertainment, something many of us do routinely and without a second thought to our safety,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “But a tragedy isn’t always a crime, and not every death is a homicide.”

The decision has no bearing on the pending civil lawsuits relating to the case.

A US taskforce made a series of recommendations on how to improve concert safety in response to the disaster last year.

 


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