Criminal Justice

Astroworld concert incident report released by Houston police

The release of the 1,266-page report comes about a month after a Harris County grand jury declined to indict event headliner Travis Scott and others on criminal charges.

Festival goers are seen rushing into the VIP area during day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston.
Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Festival goers are seen rushing into the VIP area during day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston.

The Houston Police Department on Friday released the findings of its investigative report into the 2021 tragedy at the Astroworld Festival, where 10 people died while attending an outdoor concert by event headliner Travis Scott.

The release of the 1,266-page report comes about one month after a Harris County grand jury declined to indict Scott, a Houston-area native, along with five others on criminal charges. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said at the time that the grand jury did not find that any individuals were criminally responsible for the deaths, which were caused by a compaction in the crowd.

"We continue to pray for the victims and families affected by the Astroworld tragedy," HPD wrote in a social media statement accompanying the release of the report, which is redacted so as not to show information such as individuals' dates of birth, social security numbers and addresses.

The report sheds light on the inner-workings of HPD’s 19-month criminal investigation, detailing interviews with concert organizers, family members of victims, several witnesses and Travis Scott himself.

According to the report, Scott spoke with investigators days after the tragedy. The rapper told investigators that, at least from his perspective on stage, everything seemed relatively normal in the crowd.

“Travis described the crowd as people who were having fun, celebrating, going through the barricades, smiling, putting up their phones to record,” the police report read.

In reality, investigators determined that the crowd was already dangerously compacted hours before Scott took to the stage. As his show began, this compaction only got worse.

During the concert, a security contractor named Reece Wheeler messaged the festival’s security director, Shawna Boardman, that “stage right of main [was] getting crushed” and that he had already pulled “tons” of unconscious concertgoers out of the crowd.

“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,” Wheeler wrote. “Someone’s going to end up dead.”

However, according to Scott, the severity of the situation wasn’t communicated to him while he was on stage. Towards the later half of the concert, Scott said he was instructed to end the show early, but was given no indication that there was an emergency.

According to Scott, it wasn’t until after he got off stage that he learned of what unfolded during the performance. After entering his trailer, a friend told him that someone was receiving CPR. About 40 minutes later, that number increased.

Hours later, after he had arrived home, Scott said he learned that people had died from an early morning HPD press conference discussing the incident.

The following eight people died on the night of the concert, which was held Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston: Mirza Baig, 27, of Houston; Rodolfo Peña, 23, from Laredo; Madison Dubiski, 23, from Cypress; Franco Patiño, 21, from Illinois; Jacob Jurinek, 20, from Illinois; John Hilgert, 14, from Houston; Axel Acosta, 21, from Washington; and Brianna Rodriguez, 16, from Houston. Bharti Shahani, 22, and Ezra Blount, 9, died in the days that followed.

Hundreds of others were injured during the crowd crush, which prompted a slew of civil lawsuits filed against Scott and event organizers, such as Live Nation. The most notable change in the wake of the deadly concert came last year, when Houston and Harris County officials announced an updated event management agreement for large events at NRG Park.

Below is HPD's full report about the tragedy: