Autopsies show all 10 Astroworld victims died of compression asphyxia

Autopsies reveal all 10 Astroworld victims died of ‘compression asphyxia’ after being crushed to death at concert for Travis Scott – who has now been removed from Coachella lineup

  • The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences released the results Thursday 
  • The 10 victims died after their breathing was cut off by ‘external pressure’
  • People at the festival recalled the energy ‘shifting’ as Scott’s show neared
  • Crowds from other performances began packing in front of the main stage
  • At least seven victims were in the center-south area of the crowd when they died

The 10 people who died in a massive crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston last month, including a 9-year-old boy, died from compression asphyxia as the crowd rushed forward during Travis Scott’s performance.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences announced the cause on Thursday. The department had to wait several weeks after the tragedy for additional test results before making a final determination.

The victims who died were among 50,000 who attended the festival. A Washington Post investigation found that seven of them were relatively close to each other, standing in the center of the south quadrant area in front of the stage.  

Scott and the companies that helped put on the show are facing dozens of lawsuits worth billions of dollars, including one filed in mid-November that seeks $2 billion on behalf of 282 victims. 

Last week, reports surfaced that Scott had been removed from the lineup of the Coachella music festival in India, California. 

Autopsies have revealed that the 10 victims of Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival last month died of ‘compression asphyxia.’ Above, a crowd at the festival pushes over a barricade

The energy ‘shifted’ as Scott, the headline and founder of the festival, was set to take the stage, one concertgoer recalled, with more people packing in from nearby performances

Seven of the victims – Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Pena, Jacob Jurinek, Franco Patino, Danish Baig, Axel Acosta, Madison Dubiski and Ezra Blount – were located near the center of the south quadrant

The victims are, clockwise: Madison Dubiski, 23; John Hilgert, 14; Bharti Shahani, 22; Axel Acosta, 21; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Mirza Baig, 27; Franco Patino, 21; Jacob Jurinek, 21; Rodolfo Angel Peña, 23; and Ezra Blount, 9

Compression asphyxia is when ‘respiration is prevented by external pressure on the body,’ according to the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.

On November 5, some 300 people were injured and treated at NRG Park in Houston, where the show took place. Twenty-five were taken to hospitals. 

It was the first night of the show, and artists like SZA, Yves Tumor and Don Toliver had already performed. As Travis’s performance on the main stage got closer and closer, fans from other stages added to the already packed-in crowd.

‘One side was the stage, on the opposite end were concession stands, and the walls of crowds were pushing in from the sides,’ concertgoer Mason Rodriguez, 23, told the Houston Chronicle. ‘You were fenced in. There was no getting out.’

The youngest victim was 9-year-old Ezra Blount. 

The others, whose ages ranged from 14 to 27, include Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Pena, 23; Jacob Jurinek, 20; Franco Patino, 21; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Danish ‘Mizra’ Baig, 27; Axel Acosta, 21; John Hilgert, 14; Madison Dubiski, 23; and Bharti Shahani, 22.

Seven of the victims – Pena, Jurinek, Patino, Baig, Acosta, Dubiski, and Ezra – were near the center of the south quadrant.

On December 8, Scott was spotted in Los Angeles days after he said he said he was ‘1000 percent’ certain he did everything he could have to prevent the tragedy

Three crowd experts told the Washington Post that the influx of people into the south quadrant, plus the rigid dividers, would have compressed the crowd and made it very difficult for people in the section to exit.  

One Astroworld attendee who was in the south quadrant said that as soon as Scott took the stage at 9pm the crowd erupted.

‘As soon a Travis reaches the stage there’s just this whole different shift into the crowd,’ Jacob Amaya told the Post. ‘I was like, man, this is like, this is not safe. Like, I started to notice, I look in front of me, I see people crying. I look in the side of me, I see my friends, they’re yelling for help, they’re saying ‘we gotta get out.’

Medical examiners said contributing factors in one man’s death were cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol, a form of alcohol.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed over injuries and deaths at the concert. They name Scott, guest performer Drake, promoter Live Nation and individuals affiliated with Houston’s NRG Park and Scoremore Holdings. 

Texas A&M student Bharti Shahani, 22, (left) and University of Dayton student Franco Patino, 21, were among the 10 people who died at Astroworld on November 5

Three hundred people were injured and treated at the venue and 25 were taken to the hospital

 One lawsuit alone, filed in mid-November, seeks $2 billion on behalf of 282 victims.

‘The defendants stood to make an exorbitant amount of money off this event, and they still chose to cut corners, cut costs, and put attendees at risk,’ California attorney Thomas Henry said in a news release obtained by Bloomberg announcing the suit.

On December 7, Scott asked a judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit from festival attendee Jessie Garcia that was filed against him and several of his businesses, issuing a ‘general denial’ to all the allegations within it.

Sources close to the star say he is planning to issue a similar response to other lawsuits, TMZ reported.  

Scott sat down with radio host Charlemagne Tha God for an interview published on December 9, in which he blamed his ‘in-ear’ person for not urging him to stop the show sooner and claimed that he wasn’t aware of or responsible for the fatal stampede and crowd crush.

Scott said that he is ‘1000 percent’ certain he did everything he could have to prevent the tragedy, and claims he didn’t hear the screams and cries for help as the crowd went out of control. 

‘Things happen, you know, and it’s just been such a time, and I’m just trying to just really figure things out,’ he said when asked why he was breaking his silence.

Scott and the event organizers are the focus of a criminal investigation by Houston police. No one has been charged. No timetable has been set for when the investigation would be completed.

Scott’s attorney reached out to the families of the 10 who died, offering to pay for their loved ones’ funeral costs. Several families turned down the offer.

In a November 24 letter sent to the family of 9-year-old Ezra Blount – the youngest person to die from injuries suffered at the concert – Scott’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the rapper extended his ‘deepest sympathies and condolences’ to the boy’s father, Treston Blount, and that he wanted to reach out personally ‘but does not wish to intrude on Mr. Blount’s privacy during his time of grieving.’ 

Scott offered to cover funeral expenses for those who died. Several families, including those of Ezra Blount, 9, (left) and Mirza Baig, 27, (right) have declined the rapper’s compensation

‘Travis is devastated by the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival and grieves for the families whose loved ones died or were injured. Travis is committed to doing his part to help the families who have suffered and begin the long process of healing in the Houston community,’ Petrocelli wrote. 

Treston Blount declined the offer through his attorney Robert Hilliard who said that while he believes Scott feels remorse, the rapper must see ‘that he bears some of the responsibility for this tragedy.’ 

The top elected official in the county that includes Houston, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, had proposed a third-party probe of the planning and execution of the festival founded by Scott.

The Harris County administrator instead will work with other city and county entities to review security, fire and other safety plans at the county-owned venue NRG Park.

Dozens of lawsuits worth billions of dollar name Scott, rapper Drake, promoter Live Nation and individuals affiliated with Houston’s NRG Park, above, and Scoremore Holdings

Other members of Harris County’s governing body, known as a commissioner’s court, were concerned Hidalgo’s investigation could lead to legal liabilities for the county.

Experts in crowd safety say an investigation by neutral outsiders could help avoid potential conflicts of interest and promote transparency.

A 56-page event operations plan for the Astroworld festival detailed protocols for dangerous scenarios, including a shooter, bomb or terrorist threats, and severe weather. 

But it did not include information on what to do in the event of a crowd surge.

Last week, Palm Springs station KESQ reported that Scott is no longer performing at the annual Coachella music festival next year, according to reports from the city of Indio and the Community Services Manager Jim Curtis.

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