Loved ones, classmates and community leaders remember 16-year-old Astroworld Festival victim

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- She loved dancing. She loved music. She loved her friends and family. And on Wednesday night, those who loved her came together to honor her memory.

Brianna Rodriguez, 16, was among the victims who died over the weekend during the Astroworld Festival tragedy.

Friends, family members, and others gathered for a vigil to honor the memory of the teen.

The event was held at Heights High School, where Rodriguez was a member of the Redcoats Dance Team.

Hundreds of people attended the vigil on the high school football field, the setting served as a reminder of how young this victim was.
"I love you Bri, and it's always going to be, 'Long live Bri.'" friend Gregorio Villanueva said.

"I know you're not here, but I love you so much," Gerardo Villanueva added.

The two said they were close friends with Rodriguez, and her warm personality made people feel more like family.

Dance team member Maite Rocha spoke about her love for music.

"Brianna was like a sister to us," Rocha said. "Every time there was music, she would turn to look at us. Every time there was an artist she liked, she would look at us and start dancing."

The Redcoats dancers put together Wednesday night's program with music, balloons in Rodriguez's favorite colors, flowers, tributes and prayers.

Several students shared what she meant to them, and community leaders offered them their support.
"At the very least, the very minimum, what we can do is pray for them support them, and just come and stand with them," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "That is what we are doing today."

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Millard House II was also in the crowd.

"Our kids have gone through a lot these last 20 months," House said. "Unfortunately, this is an even more difficult scenario they're going through. What helps, in many instances, is that they continue to grow, develop and watch each other's backs to ensure the support they need is provided."

Through hugs and tears, young people and their parents showed the strength of a community as they remembered the heart of young girl.

Flor Perez said her son was best friends with Rodriguez.

"We're here to show support and that Brianna will never be forgotten," she said.

"I'm just so thankful for everyone coming out for her and showing support," Villanueva said. "Because it's a really hard time and people need it."

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