A “needle” wielding assailant suspected of injecting at least one person with a possible opioid may have sparked the panic that killed at least eight people and injured 300 others during a stampede at rapper Travis Scott’s concert in Houston, authorities said Saturday.
The tragedy happened Friday at NRG Park when a mass of people among the 50,000 concertgoers at the sold-out show “began to compress” to the front of the stage at around 9:15 p.m., sparking mayhem according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.
The preliminary investigation found a security guard was jabbed in the neck while he was among the fans packed into the park for the first of two nights at Astroworld, a festival Scott founded in 2018, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said at a Saturday afternoon press conference.
Police have not yet interviewed the guard, Finner said, but medical staff that treated him said he was administered Narcan, a drug used to revive people who have overdosed on opioids, and they saw what looked like a needle mark on his neck.
Narcan was used to revive some other concertgoers as well, Finner said, but he was unable to say how many.
“We do know that there were several, many, instances where they did administer Narcan on site,” he said.
“This is now a criminal investigation that is going to involve our homcide division, as well as narcotics,” Finner said during a press conference Saturday afternoon.
At least 11 of the 25 people taken to area hospitals were in cardiac arrest, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said. Officials said 13 remained hospitalized late Saturday, including five under the age of 18 and at least one 10-year-old. Officials did not detail their injuries.
Others among the dead and injured were trampled as the crowd surged toward the stage, Finner said.
Some 300 people were treated at a field hospital set at the stadium during the “mass casualty incident,” authorities said.