Authorities are investigating the possibility that someone was injecting unwitting concertgoers with drugs at the Astroworld music festival in Houston Friday where at least eight people died and hundreds of others were injured, Reuters reports.
Police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, with homicide and narcotics detectives working the case, according to Reuters, citing Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
The tragic events at NRG Park began around 9:30 p.m. Friday, when about 50,000 concertgoers began to press toward the front of the stage where rapper Travis Scott was performing.
A security guard who was in the crowd was reportedly poked in the neck with a needle and that medics treated him with Narcan, which helps revive people from opioid overdoses, Finner said at a news conference, according to KPRC-TV. The medical personnel are said to have confirmed that a mark on the man’s neck was consistent with a needle injection site.
Narcan was also deployed on some other attendees, the police chief said.
“We do know that there were several, many instances where they did administer Narcan on site,” Finner said, according to KPRC-TV.
Of the 25 people who were brought to local hospitals, 11 of them were in cardiac arrest, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said, according to KHOU-TV. As of Saturday evening, 13 of them were still in the hospital. Five of them are minors, including at least one who is just 10 years old.
Victims who died range in age from 14 to 27, although the age of one of the deceased remained unknown yet, according to Fox News.
Autopsies are expected to help assess whether the victims were injected with drugs, which are known as “sticking attacks.” Such attacks have been reported in the UK recently, according to the New York Post.
The Post and CBS News, citing an anonymous source, report that concert organizers are of the belief this was a sticking attack, at least in part because those who collapsed were located in the same vicinity.
“This was a targeted attack on innocent people, including a child,” the source told the New York Post. “People were being spiked against their own will.”
Authorities believe that others were hurt after being trampled when concertgoers swarmed toward the stage. About 300 people were treated for injuries at a field hospital set up near the concert.
“I was fearing for my own life,” concert attendee Courtney Spencer told the Post. “I was getting put in a chokehold by people continuously because I couldn’t move. My arms were stuck to my body.
“I had to adjust my feet ever second to make sure I didn’t slip and fall. If you fell down, people did not help you out. It was absolutely insane.”
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[Feature image: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP]