HOUSTON — The Houston police and fire departments were deeply involved in safety measures for the Astroworld music festival, where a surging crowd killed eight people. Now the city's police department is leading the criminal investigation into how the deadly chaos erupted during a performance by rapper Travis Scott.
In the hopes of eliminating any potential conflicts of interest, County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, has called for an independent review of the tragedy.
Hidalgo has not said which agency should lead such an independent investigation.
"She wants to know if this could have been prevented in any way," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesperson for Hidalgo. "It's also entirely possible that it was not preventable for whatever reason, and that's something we would like to know, as well."
Experts in crowd safety say an investigation by neutral outsiders could help the city avoid potential conflicts and promote transparency.
Eight people died, dozens were hospitalized, and hundreds were treated at the scene on Friday following Scott's performance at his Astroworld music festival. Those who were killed ranged in age from as young as 14 to as old as 27.
CNN reports that Scott's performance began around 9 p.m. local time, at which point police began receiving calls about injuries in the crowd. Police declared a "mass casualty event" around 9:40 p.m., but Scott's performance continued until after 10 p.m.
Police and fire officials played key roles in crowd control measures, on-site security staffing and the emergency response at the Astroworld festival on Friday night.
The Associated Press reports that a 56-page event operations plan for the festival did not include information about what to do in the event of a crowd surge. It had protocols for other dangerous scenarios including bomb threats, active shooters and severe weather, the AP reported.
Scott, entertainment company Live Nation and concert promoter Scoremore are already facing numerous lawsuits for their role in Friday's deadly trampling incident.