Astroworld: Security guard reveals he quit on morning of festival over safety fears

‘I didn’t receive any type of training whatsoever to handle anything’

Harriet Sinclair
Friday 12 November 2021 15:49
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A security guard contracted to work at Astroworld has revealed he walked off the sit of the deadly event prior to the crush that left nine dead, over sfaety concerns.

Darius Williams spoke of his concerns in an interview with CNN’s New day on Thursday, explaining that he didn’t thinkl there were enough security personnel at the festival.

“Once I was dropped off at my station, it just didn’t seem secure or safe, so for the safety of myself, I just decided it would be best to leave for the day,” he said.

The security guard also said he “had heard some other people mentioning online and in-person that there was a plan to storm the gates”, explaining that he had “mentioned that to my superiors, but it seemed like it fell on deaf ears”.

“They did offer me a different position or a different role for the day, which would have been me kind of walking the perimeter to keep it secure to make sure no one hops the gate, you know, no one tries to sneak in the festival. But I really didn’t feel comfortable doing that either because I didn’t receive any type of training whatsoever to handle anything.”

His comments came after the death toll from the tragedy rose to nine, with the death of 22-year-old student Bharti Shahani, who died after five days in the ICU.

Karishma Shahani, Ms Shahani’s mother, paid tribute to her daughter, saying: “give me my baby back” and saying she “won’t be able to live without her”.

“What happened to my blessing now,” she said. “I want my baby back. I won’t be able to live without her. It’s impossible.”

A nine-year-old boy, Ezra Blount, is still fighting for his life in ICU after being trampled in the crush, while hundreds of others were injured at the festival.

Houston police department is investigating the incident.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said in a statement on Monday that he had a “brief and respectful” meeting with Scott and the rapper’s head of security on Friday before his performance. The chief said he asked them to work with the police department.

“I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years in law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages, to include a global pandemic and social tension throughout the nation,” Chief Finner said.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Scott said: “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. 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. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support.”

The Independent has reached out to Astroworld for comment.

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