Travis Scott should have stopped the fatal Astroworld show as soon as he noticed the crowd was suffering casualties, the Houston Fire Chief says.
“The artist has command of that crowd,” Samuel Pena told The Today Show.
“If he notices something going on, he can certainly pause that performance, turn on the lights and say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to continue until this thing is resolved,’” Mr Pena said.
However, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said calling off the concert suddenly could have led to even worse situation.
Eight people died and hundreds were injured after a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston’s NRG Park on Friday.
A mass casualty event was declared at 9:38pm, but the show was only called off at 10:15pm.
Mr Pena said Scott should have stopped the show as soon as he noticed an ambulance that was trying to make its way through the crowd to treat some of the injured.
“Everybody at that event has a responsibility, starting from the artist on down, security and everybody that’s there to provide safety,” Mr Pena said.
Multiple investigations into Friday’s tragedy are beginning to shed light on what caused the mass casualties, Mr Pena said.
He said when concertgoers began to push forward at the start of Scott’s performance, barricades in the middle of the crowd became “pinch points”.
“As the crowd began to surge and push and compress towards the front, it was those people in the centre that began to get crushed and the injuries began.”
Mr Pena said it was still unclear what had caused the surge.
The fire chief wasn’t sure that Scott “was fully aware of what was going on”, adding that would form part of the ongoing investigation.
He told The Today Show that he didn’t believe Scott’s conduct on-stage caused the deadly crowd surge.
However, he believes the Houston rapper could have done more to help emergency responders and security.
Scott’s girlfriend Kylie Jenner posted on Instagram that she and Scott had no idea about the extent of the crowd injuries until after the show was called off at 10:10pm.
On Tuesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said if the concert had been halted, it could have sparked a riot.
“You want to be very careful when you stop things when you’ve got 50,000 people that are there,” he told ABC13.
“Those in a certain area, they may know what’s happening, but you got thousands and thousands that are crammed in, and they don’t know what’s happening.
“So if you just stop something abruptly, then you don’t want to make the situation worse. So it’s a sensitive situation.”
Mr Turner said the Mayor’s office had contacted many of the bereaved families.
Scott has offered to pay for the victim’s funeral, and offered trauma counseling to anyone affected.
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