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Astroworld tragedy: Final victim identified, Travis Scott to pay for funerals

HOUSTON — At least eight people were killed and hundreds were treated for injuries after a sold-out crowd of nearly 50,000 people surged during rapper Travis Scott’s performance at a music festival Friday night in Houston, authorities said.

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Officials declared a “mass casualty event” outside NRG Park during the Astroworld Festival, the Houston Chronicle reported. The crowd surged toward the stage just after 9 p.m., overwhelming security forces, the newspaper reported.

Update 1:39 p.m. EST Nov. 8: Travis Scott has announced he will pay for the funeral expenses for the victims who were killed at the Astroworld Festival, Rolling Stone reported.

TMZ reported that he will be covering all funeral costs personally.

The rapper also said he will be working with BetterHelp to make online therapy available for free to those who were in attendance at the concert.

In a statement to CNN about the funeral costs, Scott’s representatives said: “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.”

On Saturday, Scott had said on Instagram that he was trying to reach the families of the people killed.

“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 in the video he had posted Saturday evening, according to People magazine. “My fans really mean the world to me, and I always want to leave them with a positive experience.”

Update 1:20 p.m. EST Nov. 8: The final victim of the Astroworld Festival surge has been identified.

KTRK reported that Harris County Judge Lina Hildago announced Madison Dubiski, 23, was one of the victims.

Dubiski’s family and friends mourned their loss and remembered her as they set up a floral memorial at NRG Park.

REST IN PEACE 🙏 All eight victims who died in the chaos have been identified. Among them was a man who was crushed while trying to save his fiancée.

Posted by ABC13 Houston on Monday, November 8, 2021

Update 9:50 a.m EST Nov. 8: Travis Scott will refund the ticket prices to all attendees to Astroworld, Variety reported.

NJ.com said ticket costs started at just under $300 before fees.

He also will not perform at the Day N Vegas Festival this weekend, after sources told the entertainment media outlet that he is “too distraught to play.”

Scott had been scheduled to take the stage at the Las Vegas event on Saturday from 10:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. Concert promoter AEG has not said who will take Scott’s place as of Monday morning.

Like Astroworld, Day N Vegas Festival is a general admission event where concertgoers rush in for prime viewing spots, Variety reported.

Update 7:23 p.m. EST Nov. 7: The Houston Police Department has launched an “all-encompassing” investigation into what exactly led to eight deaths and scores of injuries at the Astroworld Festival on Friday night.

“This is now a criminal investigation that’s going to involve our homicide division as well as narcotics, and we’re going to get down to the bottom of it,” Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner confirmed during a Saturday news conference.

Jodi Silva, a spokesperson for the department, told The Washington Post on Sunday that “everybody that needs to be involved will be involved” in the investigation.

Authorities planned to use videos, witness interviews and a review of concert procedures to figure out what went wrong Friday night during a performance by rapper and festival founder Travis Scott, The Associated Press reported.

Thirteen people injured in the incident remained hospitalized Sunday, but their conditions were not disclosed.

Steven Adelman, vice president of the industry group Event Safety Alliance, which was formed after the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair in 2011 killed seven people, helped write industry guidelines widely used today.

Adelman told the AP that investigators will examine the design of the festival’s safety barriers and whether they correctly directed crowds or contributed to the crush of spectators. He said, too, that authorities will look at whether something incited the crowd besides Scott taking the stage.

Adelman said another question is whether there was enough security on hand.

“Security, obviously, was unable to stop people. Optically, that’s really bad-looking, but as for what it tells us, it’s too early to say,” he said.

Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial was erected outside NRG park by Sunday morning, replete with flowers, votive candles, condolence notes and T-shirts.

Update 6:50 p.m. EST Nov. 7: A seventh victim in Friday’s fatal crowd surge at the 2021 Astroworld Festival in Houston has been identified by his father as 20-year-old Jacob Jurinek, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

“Him and I were just best buddies,” Ronald Jurinek told the newspaper, confirming that his son had been a junior at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he was studying art and media.

Jacob Jurinek, who would have turned 21 on Nov. 20, bought the Astroworld Festival tickets six months ago to honor the occasion and traveled to Houston with his best friend, Franco Patino, who also died at the chaotic scene, Ronald Jurinek told the Post.

According to his father, Jacob Jurinek enjoyed Marvel movies, pro wrestling and rooting for his home teams, the Chicago Blackhawks, White Sox and Bears, the newspaper reported.

“Every conversation we had always ended in ‘I love you.’ That was the last thing we said to each other,” Ronald Jurinek said.

Houston police have not yet publicly confirmed the identities of the eight victims.

Update 4:27 p.m. EST Nov. 7: The father of Axel Acosta confirmed that the 21-year-old was the unidentified victim who was killed at the Astroworld festival on Friday night. Edgar Acosta confirmed his son’s identity to KTRK, saying that the man was taken to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital after a sold-out crowd surged toward rapper Travis Scott.

Edgar Acosta said his son had just turned 21 last month and was studying computer science at Western Washington University, the television station reported.

Axel Acosta’s aunt, Cynthia Acosta, said her nephew traveled alone to the event.

“It was his first time going to an event like that,” Cynthia Acosta told KTRK.

Medical examiners have not positively identified the body as that of Axel Acosta as of Sunday, KPRC reported.

Update 2:30 p.m. EST Nov. 7: Danish Baig, 27, was trying to protect a woman when he was fatally injured, his younger brother, Basil Mirza Baig, told the Houston Chronicle. The brothers drove from Dallas to watch the event, the newspaper reported.

“I lost my brother,” Basil Baig told the Chronicle. “He was trying to save our sister from the stampede.”

The brothers were standing together, but became separated, Basil Baig told the newspaper. Their phones fell to the ground and the brothers were unable to communicate. First responders rushed Baig to a hospital, but he died in the ambulance, the brother said.

“People were trampled, walked, and stomped on,” 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, he wrote in a Facebook post.

Basil Baig said his brother will be buried on Monday in Colleyville, Texas, KHOU reported.

Update 9:26 a.m. EST Nov. 7: Kylie Jenner, the girlfriend of rapper Travis Scott, released a statement about the deaths of eight people and those injured at the Astroworld festival on Friday night.

Scott was performing when fans surged toward the stage at the sold-out concert. Jenner was in attendance at the event but was not injured, People reported.

“Travis and I are broken and devastated. My thoughts and prayers are with all who lost their lives, were injured or affected in any way by yesterday’s events,” Jenner wrote on Instagram stories. “And also for Travis,who I know cares deeply for his fans and the Houston community. I want to make it clear we weren’t aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no (way) would we have continued filming or performing. I am sending my deepest condolences to all the families during this difficult time and will be praying for the healing of everyone affected.”

Update 8:32 a.m. EST Nov. 7: John Hilgert, a ninth-grade student at Memorial High School, died during the incident, KTRK-TV reported, citing a letter school administrators sent Saturday to parents.

The Houston Chronicle also reported Hilgert’s death.

“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 (Memorial High School) family is grieving today,” the letter, obtained by KPRC-TV, stated.

“Everything about that night was a tragedy,” Tracy Faulkner, whose 15-year-old son attended the concert with Hilgert, told the Chronicle. “John was a good student and athlete and was so polite. He was the sweetest and smartest young man.

“They were both in the same place at the same time and one came home and one we will never see,” Faulkner told the newspaper.

A family member also confirmed to KTRK that 16-year-old Brianna Rodriguez also died at the concert. According to her aunt, Rodriguez was a junior at Heights High School in Houston.

Family members also posted a tribute to Rodriguez on Facebook.

“Gone from our sites (sic), but never from our hearts,” her family posted. “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 High School in Houston, Texas. Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates.”

Police have not officially released the names of the victims.

Update 9:36 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: Family members confirmed to a Laredo media outlet that Rudy Pena was one of the eight people killed Friday night when the crowd surged during the Astroworld Festival.

Jennifer Pena confirmed her brother’s death to the Laredo Morning Times, while cousin Kimberly Escamillia confirmed his passing via social media.

“My brother was the sweetest person, friendly, outgoing. He had many friends because he was always there for everyone,” Jennifer Pena told the newspaper, adding. “Yes, he was a big fan of Travis (Scott). He loved (Scott’s) music.”

The incident occurred as rapper Scott performed during the festival.

Update 8:22 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: Spring Branch Independent School District officials on Saturday confirmed in a letter to parents and students that a ninth-grade student at a Houston-area school was among the eight fatalities at the Astroworld Festival on Friday night.

“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 (Memorial High School) family is grieving today,” the letter, obtained by KPRC-TV, stated.

Although the letter, penned by Memorial High school Principal Lisa Weir, identified the student by name, the TV station omitted the student’s name when it published the correspondence.

Update 8:05 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: The University of Dayton confirmed Saturday evening that a student was killed while attending a concert in Houston, Texas, but the school stopped short of identifying the Astroworld Festival as the venue, WHIO reported.

At least eight people were killed after a crowd of nearly 50,000 people surged during the Houston show.

In a news release the university identified the student as 21-year-old Franco Patino, a senior from Naperville, Illinois, who died Friday. Patino was a mechanical engineering technology major with a minor in human movement biomechanics, the university confirmed.

Patino was also a member of Alpha Psi Lambda, a Hispanic interest fraternity, as well as the university’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He was currently working in an engineering co-op program in Mason, Ohio, the news release stated.

Update 4:57 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: Houston Police Chief Troy Finner confirmed at least one case where a security officer “felt a prick” from a needle-like object in his neck.

“We do have a report of a security officer, according to the medical staff that was out treating him last night, that he was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck,” Finner told reporters during an afternoon news conference. “When he was examined, he went unconscious.

“They administered Narcan and he was revived and the medical staff did notice a prick that was similar to a prick that you would get if somebody tried to inject.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner did not want to speculate about how many of the deaths might have been caused by drugs.

“I don’t even want to go to drug overdoses,” Turner said. “We are looking at all potential causes of this incident or what caused the cardiac arrest. We’re not taking anything off the table.” He said the ages of the dead, whose names have not yet been released, were between 16 and 23.

Update 4:44 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that 528 officers from the Houston Police Department were at NRG Park for the Astrodome festival. He added that Live Nation, the event’s promoter, provided 755 people from private security at the concert.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called for an independent investigation.

“To the families, our hearts go out to you,” Hidalgo said at an afternoon news conference. “We won’t give up on asking the tough questions about what happened here.”

Update 4:37 p.m. EDT Nov. 6: At a news conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the eight people who died ranged in age from 14 to 27. The victims ages were 14, 16, 21 (two of them), 23 (two of them) and 27. The mayor said one person’s age was unknown.

Turner added that 25 people were transported to an area hospital, and 13 remain at the facility. Five of the victims are under the age of 18, Turner said.

Original report: “We had a mass casualty event here at Astroworld,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said at a news conference. “We had people falling out and passing out.”

Peña said 17 people were taken to area hospitals, 11 of whom were in cardiac arrest. Some of the victims are children, the Chronicle reported.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said some of the victims were as young as 10 years old, KHOU reported.

“Our hearts are broken,” Hidalgo said at a news conference.

Event organizers ended the concert early and canceled the second day of the festival, according to KPRC.

Peña said the crowd moved toward the front of the stage as Scott was performing, the television station reported. Authorities began transporting people to hospitals at around 9:38 p.m.

The organizers, Scott and LiveNation, stopped the show, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during the news conference. Peña added that members of the Houston Fire Department and Harris County medics transported 23 people to hospitals. The fire department had 55 units at the festival for service, KTRK reported.

“Once we started having the mass casualty incident, they were starting CPR on several people, and it happened all at once,” Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said during the news conference. “It seemed like it happened over the course of just a few minutes. Suddenly, we had several people down on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode.”

In a video posted to social media, Scott could be heard asking for aid for someone in the audience, The Associated Press reported.

“Security, somebody help real quick,” Scott said.

It was unclear what caused the deaths or injuries, KTRK reported.

”There are a lot of rumors going around,” Finner told reporters. “We have hurting families out here.”

In 2017, 58 people were killed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, according to the AP. The Ghost Ship fire in 2016 killed 36 people in California and 100 people died in 2003′s Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island.

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