NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Two Naperville men, graduates of Neuqua Valley High School, were among the eight people killed in a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.
Franco Patino and Jacob Jurinek were best friends since elementary school, growing up together in Naperville, before heading off to separate colleges. Patino was a big fan of Travis Scott and went to Houston for the festival with Jurinek in celebration of his friend’s birthday, according to Patino’s family.
Patino’s best friend, Jacob Jurinek, was a Southern Illinois University-Carbondale student and was also from Naperville.
For those at the event, it was utter chaos in the moments of the crowd surge as first responders struggled to make their way through.
“Security or EMTs could not get over to any people in the crowd. There were just too many people and at some point, the barricades became a hindrance,” one attendee said.
Another attendee said others were unaware of the severity of the situation, laughing at other attendees screaming to get out.
Witnesses describe feeling trapped, suffocated – and seeing people pass out.
‘There was one guy I saw, actually,” said Kevin Perez. “He was just laying there and he wasn’t moving and he wasn’t trying to get up. So I actually had to grab him to pull him up, like, ‘You need to move, like, get out, get out.’ And, like, people kept pushing and shoving and more people kept collapsing into, like, but that was like the craziest I’ve seen.”
Multiple videos shared on social media show fans trying to get the attention of Scott and festival staff to stop the show. Scott did eventually stop the performance when he saw paramedics trying to reach people in the crowd.
Travis Scott tweeted a statement saying he’s devastated by Friday night’s events.
For Scott, it isn’t the first time fans have rushed the stage at one of his shows. Scott pleaded guilty in 2015 to reckless conduct charges for encouraging fans to climb over barricades at his Lollapalooza performance that year.
Houston police said those killed at the event range in age from 14 to 27 years old. 25 people were hospitalized, with more than half of them remaining hospitalized on Saturday.
Patino was 21 and was a junior at the University of Dayton. His family said they found out about his death when the hospital called his mom from his cell phone. Loved ones remembered him as a selfless person who always put others before himself.
Jacob Jurinek’s family says he was known for his boundless energy and contagious enthusiasm.
“We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives,” said Jacob’s father, Ron Jurinek, “We’re comforted by the fact that hundreds of people Jake touched over the years will carry a piece of his spirit with them.”