Attorney Ben Crump filing up to 98 civil suits connected to Astroworld Festival tragedy

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, November 12, 2021
Injured Astroworld concertgoers come forward as lawsuits mount
Up to 98 more civil suits are being filed as attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the dad of a 9-year-old on life support, spoke out.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is filing up to 98 civil suits connected to the tragedy at Astroworld Festival, including that of a 9-year-old boy who was critically injured.

SEE RELATED STORY: Dad of 9-year-old trampled at Astroworld praying for miracle: 'Bring us Ezra back'

Little Ezra Blount is currently on life support, with not many options to save his life.

Crump held a briefing Friday morning alongside other concertgoers who were hurt. The attorney announced he is representing more than 200 victims who suffered mentally and physically.

"We will make sure that they get justice because this should have never happened," said Crump.

But, he also made it clear that it's more than just about that.

"It is also about making sure Live Nation and anybody else who had anything to do with the failure here that caused people to lose their children. Nobody should ever die from going to a concert. In the future, safety must be paramount," said Crump.

Attorney Alex Hilliard was also present at the briefing. He said "criminal behavior" started weeks prior to the date of the concert because there was no plan in place.

"We are talking about the largest organizer and promoter of festivals and concerts in the world," Hilliard said. "And when that happens, a failure of epic proportions on this type of scale, it is criminal."

One of Crump's clients, 32-year-old Uniqua Smith, shared her experience at the concert during the briefing.

Smith, a mother of two, said she had gone to the concert by herself but she never thought of the possibility of not returning home to her children.

She explained the feeling of being crushed by other bodies during the rapper's first song.

"By the third or fourth song, I tried to make my way out of the crowd," Smith said. "When I tapped on a woman to ask her to move, I noticed she was also having trouble breathing. The next thing I know, she was having a seizure and hit the ground."

Thankfully, Smith was able to escape the horrific scene but from 9:45 p.m. to 2:45 a.m., she said she was trapped in downtown Houston.

"There was no way to Uber home. I couldn't call anyone. I couldn't even get to my car," she said.

"They never fathomed that it would be the worst nightmare of their life, witnessing people get killed," said Crump.

For 25-year-old Reyna Iraheta, the concert was supposed to be an opportunity for her and her best friend to make memories.

She recalled chaos started as soon as she got through the gates at about 2 p.m. She said she saw no police or security in sight during the madness over by the merchandise. Later that evening, she said she saw sheriffs on horses arrive.

"The annoying thing is that instead of them going to block off the VIP section, they all just faced us and you just see them recording us," Iraheta said. "It was a horrible feeling seeing people who were supposed to protect us were just looking at us."

On Friday, Crump asked for continued prayers for little Ezra.

Treston Blount said his son is a young Travis Scott fan.

"He was so stoked. He was ready to go," said Treston.

Treston held Ezra high on his shoulders as the countdown began to Scott's performance. They stayed toward the back of the crowd because Treston said he thought it would be calmer, but as soon as Travis Scott took the stage, he said that's when people started pushing.

That's when Treston fell unconscious, and Ezra fell to the ground. At the mercy of concertgoers, the 9-year-old was trampled.

When Treston regained consciousness he could not find his son anywhere. He rushed to on site medic tents, as well as several hospitals. After filing a police report, he later received a message from an officer that included a picture of Ezra.

"The picture they sent me was him in the hospital. Just to see him in that condition... I wasn't ready," said Treston as tears filled his eyes.

Upon arrival to the hospital, Treston learned little Ezra's major organs had been damaged, his brain was swollen, and he was on life support.

"I could tell that he was damaged," Treston said. "I'm not ready to lose my boy at all. We still got a bunch of living to do... that's my boy," Treston said.

As the investigation continues into the tragedy, some people, like Crump, believe it could have all been prevented.

"This was so very preventable ... Had people been focused on crowd control, had people been focused on safety provisions, focused on protocols," Crump said. "We want the message to be loud and clear to Live Nation and everybody involved. We expect you to do better in the future, and we expect you to do right by everybody who is injured physically or psychologically at the Astroworld Festival."

He is asking that anyone who has video from the concert to submit it on the Astroworld Claims Help website.

For updates on this story, follow Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.