These Are the Victims of the Astroworld Tragedy

7 of the 8 have been named by their families and friends
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 8, 2021 1:04 AM CST
These Are the Victims of the Astroworld Tragedy
Stacey Sarmiento places flowers at a memorial in Houston on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021 in memory of her friend, Rudy Pena, who died in a crush of people at the Astroworld music festival on Friday.   (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

A teen who loved dancing. An aspiring Border Patrol agent. A computer science student. An engineering student working on a medical device to help his ailing mother. And his friend and high school football teammate. Clearer pictures began to emerge Sunday of some of the eight people who died after fans at the Astroworld music festival in Houston suddenly surged toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, the AP reports. Authorities said Sunday they wouldn't release the names of the dead, but family members and friends shared accounts of their loved ones with journalists and through social media. Mary Benton, a spokeswoman in Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office, said identities were expected to be made public on Monday. The dead ranged from 14 to 27 years old, according to Houston officials. As of Sunday, 13 people remained hospitalized. Details on seven of the victims, plus more of the latest news on the tragedy:

  • Franco Patino, 21: He was working toward a mechanical engineering technology degree at the University of Dayton, with a minor in human movement biomechanics, his father, Julio Patino, said in an interview. He was working with a team on a new medical device, and wanted to find a way to help his mother walk again after she was severely injured in an automobile accident in Mexico two years ago.
  • Jacob “Jake” Jurinek, 20: Patino's friend and former teammate was a junior at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he was “pursuing his passion for art and media,” his family said in a statement Sunday. He was just over two weeks short of his 21st birthday. His mother died in 2011.
  • Danish Baig, 27: He managed to help his fiancée Olivia Swingle get to safety, his brother tells People, but he was then overcome by the crowd.
  • Brianna Rodriguez, 16: "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," her family says in a statement cited by People.
  • Axel Acosta, 21: He was a computer science major at Western Washington University who had traveled to Texas for the show. "By all accounts, Axel was a young man with a vibrant future. We are sending our condolences to his family on this very sad day," the school says.
  • Rudy Peña, 23: He was a student at Laredo College and wanted to be Border Patrol agent, his friend Stacey Sarmiento says. "He brought happiness anywhere he went. He was easy to get along with. It was like positive vibes from him at all times.”
  • John Hilgert, 14: The ninth-grader's death is a "terrible loss," Memorial High School says in a statement cited by ABC 13.

City officials said they were in the early stages of investigating what caused the pandemonium at the sold-out event founded by Scott. About 50,000 people were there. Scott and the festival's organizers were hit with the first lawsuit related to the deaths Saturday; lawyers filed it on behalf of an injured attendee, Rolling Stone reports. The suit accuses organizers of ignoring earlier signs of trouble at the festival, such as fans on their way in breaching the security gates, and letting Scott's performance continue even when it became obvious people were dying. Scott said in an Instagram video that he had no idea what was going on, Yahoo News reports. "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?” he said Saturday night. “I could never imagine this situation.” (Much more on the tragedy here.)

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