Memorial High School freshman among those killed at Astroworld Festival disaster

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Saturday, November 6, 2021
Local officials give update on Astroworld Festival incident that left 8 dead
At least eight people died Friday night at a concert packed with an estimated 50,000 people at NRG Park. Press play to hear updates from local officials as investigations are underway.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of the eight people killed in Friday's Astroworld Festival disaster has been identified as a Memorial High School freshman by school administrators.

John Hilgert, a ninth grade student, died during the incident, according to a letter sent Saturday to Memorial High School parents.

"Our hearts go out to the student's family and to his friends and our staff at Memorial," MHS Principal Lisa Weir wrote. "This is a terrible loss, and the entire MHS family is grieving today."

Counselors will be made available to students next week to offer support as they process the loss of their classmate, Weir said.

Hilgert was among the eight victims at the event, who had not been identified by authorities Saturday, though they did say there was one 14-year-old, a 16-year-old, two 21-year-olds, a pair of 23-year-olds, and a 27-year-old victim.

The age of one of the victims had not been determined.

Authorities said at least one of those killed was from outside of Harris County.

Houston Fire Department and Harris County medics transported 25 people to hospitals, 17 of those patients were taken away during the worst of the ordeal, according to Peña, who also said CPR had to be performed on 11 of the victims. HFD had 55 units in-service for the festival, Peña said.

By Saturday afternoon, 13 were still hospitalized, Turner said. Five of those patients were under 18-years-old.

Authorities said the investigation into what led to the deaths and injuries was expected to be lengthy.

"This incident is being thoroughly investigated and reviewed," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Travis Scott, the popular rapper and Astroworld Festival organizer, launched the event in 2018. His shows have typically drawn young crowds with it's high-energy presentation that the artist as referred to as "raging," according to the New York Times.

"The events last night were tragic beyond belief," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during a Saturday briefing. "This is an artist that we know has a following amongst young people with bright futures. Those were the people that were at the event, (they) went to have a good time. "And no one, no parent, no friend, no sibling should see their loved one off to a concert by a world-renowned artist and not be able to expect them to come home safely."