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Remembering the Victims of the ‘Astroworld’ Tragedy

On Friday, November 5, 2021, at least eight people lost their lives while attending a music festival in Houston. Their ages range from 14 to 27 years old. But, the magnitude of the tragedy does not end there, others remain hospitalized, fighting for their lives. More will suffer lifelong health problems as a result of their injuries.

Franco Patiño

Was a 21-year-old college senior and engineering student at the University of Dayton in Ohio. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, he was the treasurer of his university’s Alpha Psi Lambda chapter, president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and a member of the ETHOS Center, which is a humanitarian-focused program that conducts international research projects.

Jacob E. Jurinek

Was 20 years old and close friends with Franco. He studied art and media at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Talented at using design software, one of his hobbies included posting drawings, photoshops, and video edits to his art account on Instagram, @jurineks.art.

John Hilgert

Just 14 years young, John was a freshman at Memorial High School. As reported by The New York Times, John is remembered by his family, teachers, and peers as being kind, athletic, and a good student. He played baseball and football. His favorite color was green.

Brianna Rodriquez

Just 16 years young, Brianna was a Heights High School student. She was a part of her school’s band program as a drill dancer. She is remembered as vibrant with a passion for dance.

Rudy Peña

At 23, Rudy was a medical assistant and criminal justice major at Laredo College, as reported by People. He is remembered by his family and friends as being sweet, playful, and a lover of music and football.

Danish Baig

The 27-year-old died while trying to save his fiancé. He was a football, music, and gaming lover. His brother, Basil Baig, wrote on Facebook: “…My brother tried to save my sister-in-law from these horrendous acts that were being done to her in the process he lost his life. My brother Danish Baig a beautiful soul whos smile would light up the room and put everyone before himself.”

Axel Acosta

The 21-year-old was a junior at Western Washington University majoring in computer science. Family lawyer Tony Buzbee reported that Axel suffered from cardiac arrest and was trampled after passing out at the festival. Axel loved rap music and was described as a great kid who loved his family. He wanted to be an engineer.

Madison Dubiski

The 23-year-old attended the concert with her brother. As reported by The New York Times, Madison was a graduate of Cypress Fair High School and The University of Mississippi. She worked at an advertising agency.

Acknowledging The Heroes

I would also like to draw attention to the heroes of the tragedy who devoted themselves to trying to help the human beings around them and stopping Travis Scott’s performance (which continued even after the deaths of attendees). These heroes range from medics to ordinary festival-goers.

  • A heartbreaking video on TikTok of two young adults trying to alert a crew member of the tragedy has gone viral. A young woman and man can be heard repeatedly screaming, “There’s someone dead in there!” and “Stop the show!” The desperation is evident in their voices. The crew member, however, gestures for them to get down.

  • The TikTok user @remi.rich was a medic at the event. In a series of videos narrating the tragedy, he describes a lack of personnel and supplies to assist the victims. Rich also talks about how the medics were forced to split up and give “one-person CPR”, which is less efficient. Rich says he tried to call for backup, but, “The radio wasn’t working… I had called for backup so many times, and it was just not going through.”
    • Rich’s testimony represents the hard work of other EMTs and medics on the scene who tried their best to evacuate and save as many people as they could. This included fighting through a densely-packed crowd to get people out and bring supplies in.
  • Other TikTok videos, accessible under #Astroworld, show concert attendees screaming and chanting “Stop the show! Stop the show!” in an attempt to gain Travis Scott’s attention. Other attendees worked together to crowd surf unconscious people to medics. Firefighters and ICU nurses attending the show checked pulses and performed CPR on fallen people.

What caused the tragedy?

This question has been circulating on the Internet. Some users blame a lack of crowd etiquette, evident by the surge before Scott’s performance. Others blame security, the festival organizers, and Travis Scott. A concrete answer to this question will likely take weeks to answer as investigations are conducted. Below, however, are a list of facts and testimony to consider:

  • Travis Scott has a history of inciting riots and endangering his fans. Following a May 2017 show, Scott faced three misdemeanor charges after inviting fans to overpower security and rush the stage.
  • In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct after encouraging fans to jump over barricades and onto the stage at Lollapalooza.
  • In April 2017, a video showed Scott encouraging a fan to jump off an upper-deck balcony at a performance. The man was left partially paralyzed.
  • 23-year-old ICU nurse Madeline Eskins, who passed out herself, found that emergency personnel was ‘woefully unprepared’. She reported asking a member of the event medical staff to check a man’s carotid or femoral pulse, but he didn’t know how to. Furthermore, Eskins recalls that “Travis acknowledged that someone in the crowd needed an ambulance and was passed out,” but, “He just kept going.”

As debate continues online, it is important to be mindful and respectful of many families’ ongoing grief.

Chloe Hummel

U Conn '24

Chloe is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She is an English major concentrating in Creative Writing and a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor.
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