Astroworld Fest: Security guard speaks out, HPD chief defends department during investigation

Chief Troy Finner has since revealed he expressed his concerns with the Houston rapper ahead of the "mass casualty event."

ByCourtney Carpenter KTRK logo
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Astroworld Festival security guard shares experience from tragedy
"I watched a guy lose his life right beside my feet," the man who worked security that tragic night told ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With few answers so far coming out from a multitude of high level officials in the wake of the Astroworld Festival tragedy, Houston police Chief Troy Finner on Wednesday said he and his investigators can only speak on the facts of the investigation, and that there wouldn't be any opinion to speak of from his department.

Finner faced the media five days after the events of Travis Scott's performance at NRG Park, which left eight dead and two still in the hospital.

While the police chief didn't offer anything too revelatory, he clarified earlier reports regarding a security guard who he said may have been injected by syringe at the festival.

Finner, instead, said the guard was actually hit from behind by an object and went unconscious.

SEE MORE: 'Concert from hell': Astroworld Fest attendees describe chaos

Moments before arriving at the event, Zach and Kaia were all smiles. That changed during Travis Scott's first song. "I was literally praying 'Please get me out of here.'"

The crush of concertgoers left eight people dead, all teenage to mid 20s. Dozens more were injured, and at least two remain in critical condition, including a 9-year-old boy and a 22-year-old Texas A&M senior.

In the immediate wake of the concert, much has been said about everything from the level of security, to the level of responsibility Scott held over the safety of his fans. Multiple accounts state Scott paused a couple of times during his performance as unconscious members of his audience were being tended to, but he continued on and completed his set.

SEE MORE: Why did the show go on? Astroworld timeline looks at when officials knew something was wrong

Finner was among the public faces who went front and center in the hours after the deadly moments late last Friday. On the Monday after the deadly night, the police chief gave details of his own interaction with Scott and his head of security before his concert.

"I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages," Finner offered in a statement, pointing at the clash of a pandemic and social tension in America.

Finner continued, "I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team's social media messaging on any unscheduled events."

Finner added the interaction was brief and respectful.

During the city's first city council meeting following Astroworld, it was revealed about 10% of HPD's officers were assigned to the event, prompting Council Member Greg Travis to question future similar events.

SEE MORE: Houston releases permits issued in advance of Astroworld Festival

The city of Houston's position on Astroworld states the need for the thorough investigation to go forward, even with the event taking place on Harris County-owned property.

SEE ALSO: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo wants independent investigation into Astroworld Festival tragedy

Aside from the criminal investigation into Scott's event, the rapper is also facing multiple civil lawsuits from both the injured and the families of those who died.

SEE ALSO: Houston mayor says stopping Astroworld Fest would have made things worse

Four days removed from the Astroworld festival disaster, Mayor Sylvester Turner weighed in on the investigation as well as the city vs. county responsibility in terms of the deadly crowd surge.