TORONTO – Toronto rapper Drake is among those named in a lawsuit after making an appearance at a music festival in Houston on Friday night, where eight people were killed and hundreds more were injured in a crowd crush.
The lawsuit, brought by attorney Thomas J. Henry, alleges Kristian Paredes, who attended the show hosted by local rapper Travis Scott at NRG Park last week, was injured after “the crowd turned chaotic and that a stampede has started “.
Scott, real name Jacques Bermon Webster II, Live Nation Entertainment and Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation are also named in the lawsuit.
Paredes, who is suing for negligence, is claiming $ 1 million in damages.
According to documents obtained by CTV News Toronto, the lawsuit alleges that Drake took the stage as a surprise guest at Scott’s Astroworld Festival and helped “get the crowd going” and continued to perform as the “chaos of the crowd continued ”.
Drake posted a statement Monday night on Instagram saying he had spent the last few days trying to figure out what had happened.
“My heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for all those who are suffering,” he said while calling the incident a “devastating tragedy”.
“I will continue to pray for all of them and be helpful in any way I can.”
Drake did not comment on the lawsuit in the statement.
Officials said some 50,000 people were in attendance on the first day of the two-day sold-out event.
Those who attended the concert said there was an onstage countdown to the start of Scott’s flagship performance as the massive crowd moved on.
The event was halted at 10:10 p.m. local time, 40 minutes after Houston Police Chief Troy Finner spoke with officials at NRG Park and said his department noticed attendees “descended”.
Finner defended the length of time it took for the event to be canceled, saying, “You can’t just shut down when you have 50,000 – over 50,000 – individuals, okay?” We have to worry about riots – riots – when you have such a young group. “
Videos from the event, posted on social media, appear to show some attendees in distress due to the mass of people being pushed against security barricades during the concert.
Some witnesses described their inability to move their arms or even breathe due to the narrowness of the event.
It is not known if Scott understood the gravity of the situation in the crowd in front of him, but at one point the Grammy-nominated rapper could be seen suspending the show and asking for security to take care of him. ‘a deceased spectator.
The event, which was described by police as a “mass casualty incident”, shed light on Scott’s “past conduct” at concerts, as noted in the lawsuit.
In 2017, Scott was charged with inciting a riot after inviting fans to “rush onto the stage” at a concert in Arkansas that injured several people, including a concert security employee and a police officer. police.
Two years earlier, at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Scott had been charged with reckless driving after encouraging fans to jump over the security barricades in front of the stage.
Scott said he was “absolutely devastated” by what had happened at NRG Park and said he was working with the Houston community to “heal and support families in need.”
A criminal investigation into the incident is underway.
With files from The Associated Press.