Astroworld Festival tragedy: ‘accidental’ deaths still raise questions of accountability

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Houston police are still working to determine whether anyone involved in the Astroworld Festival tragedy is criminally responsible for what a Harris County medical examiner determined was an accident on Thursday.

SEE MORE: Astroworld Festival victims’ deaths are believed to be accidental asphyxiation, medical examiner finds

The medical examiner’s report showed that all 10 victims of the concert were crushed to death by “compression suffocation”.

This isn’t much different from civil lawsuits or criminal investigations, legal experts say. Lawyers representing the families of the victims said confirmed that their loved ones died from being crushed in the crowd that devastated them once again.

Alex Hilliard, an attorney representing the family of nine-year-old Ezra Blount, said: “It is indescribable and I am trying to find words to address the devastation of this news.

SEE MORE: The family said that the 9-year-old boy who was trampled at Astroworld died of his injuries

Ezra is the youngest victim of the Astroworld Fest. His family is one of 10 people processing new information about how their loved ones died from the November 5 tragedy at NRG Park.

Attorney representing the family of 22 years old Bharti Shahani sent ABC13 the following command:

“Findings released by the Harris County Forensic Science Institute on Thursday confirm that Astroworld Festival victim Bharti Shahani suffered a horrific death because she suffocated to death in a crowded crowd. The medical examiner’s findings confirm the Bharti family’s worst fears. It’s a horrible, inevitable image that no parent should have to endure. But it is a sad reality for the Shahanis and nine other families to receive this terrible news.”

SEE MORE: Astroworld Festival Survivors Ask for Accountability at City Hall ABC13

The Buzbee Law Firm, which represents the Axel Acosta family, also released a statement.

“Harris County announced today the cause of death of Axel Acosta, one of 10 victims killed at the Astroworld concert. Axel’s cause of death was listed as ‘compression asphyxiation’. The report confirms these findings. What the family knew, it was Axel. It’s also important to note that Axel’s blood was completely free of intoxicants or the like that night.Now that we’ve received the official results, I want to tell them. me Sheriff: Shame on you. Shame on you for going ahead and spreading the silly rumor that people were injected with drugs at the concert. By doing so, you’re hurting even more over the situation. The Axel family’s already unbearable pain Axel Acosta’s family looks Now moved to present their case in court, before a jury, in the hope that all those responsible be held liable, and that a preventable tragedy like this should never happen again.”

Stephen Aslett, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, said he doesn’t think the findings change anything.

“I think we all know that this is going down,” he said.

Aslett said all the evidence from that night pointed to mob crushes as the cause of death, and the determination that it was accidental doesn’t mean anyone can figure it out.

“It’s not any comment on whether the deaths could have happened, or should have been prevented,” he said.

Aslett said investigators still have to determine if rapper Travis Scott, Live Nation or any other party involved had everything needed at the concert to keep everyone safe, and what they know. when chaos broke out.

“You can do everything you have to do,” Aslett said. “If you decide to go on with a show, even though you know people might die midway, they’ve got you right there.”

The case may be taken to the district attorney, who will determine what, if any, charges must be filed. Aslett said they could be considered negligent homicide or manslaughter.

Houston police said they will provide updates on crime investigation progress over the next several weeks as civil cases filed by victims and their loved ones continue.

SEE: Findings in Astroworld deaths point to negligence, attorney says

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Dais Johnston

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