HOUSTON – A grand jury has declined to indict six people, including rapper Travis Scott, in connection to the deadly crowd crush which occurred at Astroworld Festival in November 2021.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg made the announcement that the grand jury no-billed Jaques Webster II (Travis Scott), Brent Silberstein, John Chadwick Junell, Shawn Boardman, Emily Ockenden and Seyth Boardman.
“In this instance, the grand jury of the 228th District Court of Harris County found that no crime did occur, that no single individual was criminally responsible,” Ogg said. “In our narrow review, our investigators and prosecutors gave it everything they had to ensure that the grand jury could reach the truth of the matter.”
It’s been 19 months since the deadly crowd crush at the festival headlined by Scott, and a grand jury convened to determine whether criminal charges would be filed in the case that addresses culpability in the deaths of 10 people -- the youngest was just 9 years old.
Scott, who is from the Houston area, headlined the festival.
The Houston Police Department investigated the tragedy over the last 19 months after Chief Troy Finner and other city, county, and state leaders promised accountability.
Finner said the department concluded their criminal investigation into the matter last week and presented their findings to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office who forwarded it to the grand jury.
Homicide investigators said the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science said that the deaths were caused by compression asphyxia and the deaths were all declared accidental.
Chief Finner said they are working to make the entire investigative report public. He said there will need to be redactions made to the 1,200 page investigative report first and currently there is no timeline as to when it will be released. Finner said it will be released in the interest of transparency and hopes it will help answer any lingering questions people may still have about the investigation and the tragedy.
Before the press conference, Travis Scotts’ attorney, Kent Schaffer, talked about the grand jury’s decision not to indict Scott.
Schaffer said during Astroworld Festival, 10 minutes after HPD received reports of people entering the medical tent and others passing out at the front of the stage, police and Scott’s security went to the person who could speak to Travis in his ear while he was performing and told that person to tell Travis that once Drake finished his set, he needed to perform his last song and get off the stage. Schaffer said Scott had no idea there was trouble in the crowd.
KPRC 2 asked Schaffer if Scott felt HPD should have given him a stronger warning about what was happening.
“I’m really not qualified to say whether or not they should have stopped the concert at that point,” Schaffer responded. “All I know is they didn’t stop the concert. And if they wanted to, the easiest thing in the world to do would have been to tell Travis, stop the concert. And it would have stopped.”
Schaffer said Scott also couldn’t see what was happening because of the hundreds of lights facing the stage.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of lights, all of which were trained on Travis,” Schaffer said. “So his range of visibility is limited to the first four or five, six rows of the stage.”
As the criminal case is closed, civil lawsuits are still pending. Jesus Garcia represents hundreds of the injured concert-goers.
“Travis Scott was at the forefront of the planning of this concert and he’s going to be held accountable and we’re going to bring him to justice, along with all the other companies that were responsible for planning this concert,” Garcia said.
A grand jury consists of 12 individuals who will determine if there is enough probable cause to bring charges for an offense.
In an hour-long documentary, KPRC 2 Investigates shares the stories of those who attended the festival, examines what went wrong, and pinpoints what needs to be done to prevent another mass casualty incident in Houston.