Astroworld: 14-year-old victim identified after deadly ‘crowd surge’ kills eight at Travis Scott concert

The eight people killed Friday night at the Astroworld festival in Houston ranged in age from 14 to 27

Sheila Flynn,David Taintor
Monday 08 November 2021 16:16
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'I'm devastated': Travis Scott addresses fatal crowd surge at Astroworld gig
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A 14-year-old boy and a man who was crushed while trying to save his sister-in-law have been named among the victims of the Astroworld music festival crowd surge, as details emerge of the eight fans killed at Travis Scott’s show in Houston.

At least two investigations, one of them criminal, have been launched into the deadly concert, which 50,000 people attended on Friday.

Signs of an unruly crowd emerged earlier in the day when video showed some fans hopping over fences and turn-styles to avoid metal detectors and ticket-takers. At around 9.30pm, organisers became aware of medical emergencies and began to shut down the event. More than two-dozen people were taken to hospital, with hundreds more injured in the melee.

Authorities are yet to officially release the names of those who died, but family members and friends began sharing accounts of their loved ones with journalists and through social media in the days after the event.

The victims’ ages range from 14 to 27, and most of those who died were students.

Youngest victim

The youngest victim has been identified as John Hilgert, 14, a high school freshman and athlete. The boy’s school district, located west of Houston, released a statement confirming his death.

It said: “Our hearts go out to the student’s family and to his friends and our staff at Memorial. This is a terrible loss, and the entire MHS family is grieving today. Please keep the student’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they face this tragedy. We will make counselors available to students next week to offer any help and support needed.”

Teen who loved dancing

Another young student to perish at the concert chaos was 16-year-old Brianna Rodriguez, according to ABC13, who reported that the high school junior had a passion for dance.

Ms Rodriguez’s sister shared an emotional tribute on Facebook, writing: “Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates.”

Oldest victim who died saving sister-in-law

The oldest identified victim was Danish Baig. The man’s younger brother, Basil Mirza Baig, told The Houston Chronicle his sibling died in an ambulance after being crushed while trying to save his sister-in-law.

He told ABC News: “He was (an) innocent young soul who would always put others before him. He was a hard-working man who loved his family and took care of us. He was there in a heartbeat for anything. He always had a solution to everything.”

Mr Baig’s brother also criticised event organisers in a Facebook post, writing: “My brother was killed in this horrendous Astroworld event that was managed poorly and supervised by such horrible people.”

Aspiring border patrol agent

Another victim, Rodolfo Angel Peña, 23, died of cardiac arrest at the concert, according to USA Today. Mr Peña was a student and aspiring model who intended to become a border patrol agent one day, according to the newspaper.

His sister, Jennifer, called him “the sweetest person, friendly, outgoing”.

“He had many friends because he was always there for everyone,” she told the Laredo Morning Times, adding that he “was a big fan of Travis. He loved his music.”

Relatives were first notified simply that her brother had been hurt, she said - and it wasn’t until hours later, when her mother arrived in Houston, that they found out he had been killed.

Engineering student hoping to help his mother walk again

Franco Patino, a 21-year-old college student originally from Naperville, Illinois, died at the Texas concert, according to the student newspaper of the University of Dayton, where he was a student.

He was attending the show to celebrate the birthday of his best friend, Jacob Jurinek – whose family on Sunday confirmed he had also been killed. The friends were both graduates of Neaqua High School in Naperville, a western suburb of Chicago.

Mr Patino was a mechanical engineering technology major with a minor in human movement biomechanics, in addition to being a member of a Latino fraternity at the school, which confirmed his passing:

His father, Julio Patino, described his son as a charismatic, energetic leader who was active in his community and intent on helping people with disabilities.

He said his son was working with a team on a new medical device, and that he wanted to find a way to help his mother walk again after she was severely injured in an car accident in Mexico two years ago.

Through tears, Mr Patino described how his son - who enjoyed weight lifting, football and rugby - used his strength to break a door and free his mom from the wreckage.

Popular student who died two weeks shy of 21st birthday

Jacob Jurinek, 20, was a junior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he was “pursuing his passion for art and media,” his family said in a statement. He was just over two weeks shy of his 21st birthday.

He was deeply committed to his family and was known as “Big Jake” by his younger cousins. He will be missed by his father, Ron Jurinek, with whom Jake became especially close after Jake’s mother died in 2011.

“In the decade since, Jake and Ron were inseparable - attending White Sox and Blackhawks games, sharing their love of professional wrestling, and spending weekends with extended family and friends at Jake’s favorite place, the family cottage in Southwestern Michigan,” the family’s statement said.

“Jake was beloved by his family and by his seemingly countless number of friends for his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy, and his unwavering positive attitude.” His father added in an emailed statement: “We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives.”

Jacob Jurinek, a college student from Naperville, Illinois, was killed at Astroworld alongside his high school friend

Computer science student with vibrant future

Axel Acosta, 21, was a computer science major at Western Washington University. His father, Edgar Acosta, told KOMO-TV his son was among the victims who died at the festival.

The school in Bellingham, Washington, released a statement Sunday: “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.”

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