'Horrified' Travis Scott Says He's 'Working to Assist' Victims' Families After Astroworld Tragedy

The rapper, who has vowed to cover funeral expenses for the victims, shared several emotional videos on Instagram Saturday night addressing the Astroworld Festival mass casualty incident in which eight people died and more than 300 were injured

MTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals, New York, USA - 20 Aug 2018
Photo: Shutterstock

Travis Scott is mourning the eight young people who died during a mass casualty incident in Houston at his annual Astroworld Festival on Friday night.

Speaking out on his Instagram Stories on Saturday evening, the rapper, 29, told fans he is hoping to reach the victims' families.

"I just want to send out prayers to the ones that was lost last night. We're actually working right now to identify the families to assist them through this tough time," he said. "My fans really mean the world to me, and I always want to leave them with a positive experience."

Scott — who was arrested in 2017 for allegedly inciting a riot during a concert in Arkansas and later pled guilty to disorderly conduct — faced accusations from festival-goers on Saturday who claimed he continued to perform even after seeing distraught and injured fans in the audience.

For more on the tragedy at Astroworld, listen below to our daily podcast on People Every Day.

One festivalgoer, David McGilver, told PEOPLE he was "upset" with Scott for not stopping the concert sooner.

"I still can hear this in my head — I remember me being on the ground and the music stopping and I could hear [Travis] say, 'Y'all know what y'all came here for.' And you can hear everybody screaming out for help," said McGilver, 20. "And then the music just plays back again."

However, a source close to the musician tells PEOPLE Scott was unaware of the magnitude of the situation. "The lights were shining in his eyes and he couldn't see what was happening," says the source. "He thought someone had just passed out, which happens during concerts."

Scott is "in absolute pieces" and is a "mess about what happened," adds the source. "He's incredibly upset about everything and horrified."

In his videos posted to his Stories, the star said he prioritized the safety of his fans at the festival: "Any time I can make out anything that's going on, I'd stop the show and help them get the help they need, you know? I could never imagine this situation."

About 30 minutes into his set (which was streamed live on Apple Music), Scott briefly paused the show when he noticed an ambulance driving through the crowd. Later, he stopped his performance again and asked security to "jump in real quick" and help "somebody passed out right here."

Scott told fans on Saturday night he and his team have "been working closely with everyone to get to the bottom of this — City of Houston HPD, fire department — everyone, to help us figure this out" and told fans to contact authorities with any information.

"Everybody continue to keep your prayers," he said. "I mean, I'm honestly just devastated and I could never imagine anything like this happening. I'm going to do everything I can to keep you guys updated and keep you guys informed of what's going on. Love you all."

On Monday, Scott's team confirmed he will "cover all funeral costs and provide further aid for individuals affected by the November 5th tragedy." They add: "In addition, Travis has partnered with BetterHelp to supply free one-on-one online therapy, and is working closely with NAMI, MHA National, and MHA of Greater Houston (Mental Health America) to direct all those in need to proper mental health services. Travis remains in active conversations with the city of Houston, law enforcement and local first responders to respectfully and appropriately connect with the individuals and families of those involved. These are the first of many steps Travis plans on taking as a part of his personal vow to assist those affected throughout their grieving and recovery process."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed at a news conference on Saturday that eight people — ranging in age from 14 to 27 — died, while hundreds of other festival-goers reported injuries at NRG Park.

Among the dead are a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old, two 21-year-olds, two 23-year-olds and a 27-year-old. Another victim's age has not yet been identified.

Julio Patino, Jr. confirmed to PEOPLE that his younger brother Franco, who was studying mechanical engineering technology at the University of Dayton, died while attending the show with his best friend Jacob Jurinek for a birthday celebration.

Julio told PEOPLE that his younger sibling "had such a big heart" and was "always going above and beyond and helping others."

Jacob's father Ron also told PEOPLE of his son: "He was the sweetest kid you'd ever want to meet. [He had] the biggest heart in the world."

Two more victims, 16-year-old Brianna Rodriguez and Rudy Peña, 23, were remembered by their families on Saturday.

"Gone from our sites [sic], but never from our hearts," wrote Rodriguez's family on Facebook. "It is with profound sadness we lay to rest our beloved Brianna Rodriguez. She was a beautiful vibrant 16-year-old high school junior at Heights HS in Houston TX. Dancing was her passion and now she's dancing her way to heaven's pearly gates."

Meanwhile, Peña's brother-in-law Sergio Gonzalez told PEOPLE (translated to English) their family wants answers and justice after losing his wife's little brother.

Turner said of the 25 people initially transported to the hospital, 13 remain hospitalized.

Related Articles