The rappers Travis Scott and Drake have been sued for having “incited mayhem” after eight people were killed and dozens injured in a crush during a Texas concert, a law firm has confirmed.
Thomas J Henry Law tweeted a story published by the Daily Mail on the lawsuit, confirming on Sunday that it had filed “one of the first lawsuits in Travis Scott Astroworld festival tragedy”.
The plaintiff is 23-year-old Kristian Paredes, who was one of those “severely injured” at the concert on 5 November.
Another lawsuit was filed in the state court of Houston on behalf of a man injured in the crush. Attorneys for Manuel Souza sued Scott, the concert organizers Live Nation and others, claiming they were responsible.
In a tweet posted on Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated by what took place”. He pledged to work “together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need”.
About 50,000 people were in the audience at NRG Park in Houston when the crowd started pushing towards the stage as Scott was performing, triggering chaotic scenes. The incident also resulted in 25 people being taken to the hospital and more than 300 others being treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Paredes, a Texas resident who is also suing Live Nation and the venue, “felt an immediate push” at the front of the general admission section as Scott got on stage, the complaint says.
“The crowd became chaotic and a stampede began. Many begged security guards hired by Live Nation Entertainment for help, but were ignored.”
The lawsuit, filed in Harris county court in Houston, claims Scott “had incited mayhem and chaos at prior events” and “defendants knew or should have known of [Scott’s] prior conduct”.
It accuses the Canadian rapper Drake, who joined Scott’s headline set, of contributing to causing the surge towards the stage.
“As Drake came onstage alongside Travis Scott he helped incite the crowd even though he knew of Travis Scott’s prior conduct,” the complaint says.
He continued to perform even as the “crowd became out of control” and the “crowd mayhem continued”, it adds.
Details emerge about those who died
The lawsuit comes as details about those who died continue to emerge. On Monday, authorities released the names of the dead, comprising victims between the ages of 14 and 27 and from Texas, Illinois and Washington, according to Harris county authorities.
The victims include Franco Patino, 21, who was working toward a mechanical engineering technology degree. His father, Julio Patino, described Franco in an interview with the Associated Press as a charismatic, energetic leader who was active in his community and intent on helping people with disabilities.
Jacob “Jake” Jurinek, 20, was a junior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he was “pursuing his passion for art and media”, his family said in a statement on Sunday. He was just short of his 21st birthday.
Madison Dubiski, 23, was described by former classmates as “the life of the party”, while Brianna Rodriguez, 16, a student at Heights high school in Houston, was described by her family as “beautiful” and “vibrant”.
John Hilgert, 14, a Memorial high school ninth grader, was the youngest of those who died. Mourners began tying green ribbons around trees at the school over the weekend in his memory. He was at the concert with his classmate Robby Hendrix, whose mother, Tracy Faulkner, spoke with the Houston Chronicle. The boys had hoped to get a good spot to watch the show.
“Everything about that night was a tragedy,” Faulkner told the newspaper. “John was a good student and athlete and so polite. He was the sweetest and smartest young man.”
Survivors described seeing people squeezed against one another and many struggling to breathe.
Scott, who launched the Astroworld music festival in 2018, reportedly halted his act several times when he saw fans in distress near the stage.
Authorities in Texas launched a criminal investigation into the tragedy, involving homicide and narcotics detectives. Houston’s police chief said on Monday he had met with Scott before the rapper’s performance on Friday about safety concerns but did not elaborate about what, specifically, had concerned him.
Houston police and fire department investigators have said they would review video taken by Live Nation, a concert promoter, as well as dozens of clips from people at the show that were widely shared on social media. Investigators also planned to speak with Live Nation representatives, Scott and concertgoers.
Live Nation said in a statement Monday that it had provided authorities with all footage from surveillance cameras at the festival, and that it had paused removing equipment at the request of investigators who were walking the grounds. The promoter said full refunds would be offered to all attendees.
Scott’s scheduled appearance at the Day N Vegas Festival in Las Vegas this weekend was canceled, according to a representative.
Scott, who founded the Astroworld festival, said he would cover funeral costs for the victims.