Family remembers UD student; police probe Astroworld tragedy

Franco Patino. Photo courtesy the Patino family.

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Franco Patino. Photo courtesy the Patino family.

The family of a University of Dayton student who died at the Astroworld music festival in Houston talked about healing and the impact their son had on others Monday, while investigators worked to understand Friday’s tragedy.

Franco C. Patino, 21, of Naperville, Ill., was a mechanical engineering technology major at UD who was involved in numerous campus organizations. His family said he was a beloved friend, cousin, nephew, brother and son.

ExploreUD student killed at Astroworld music festival in Houston

“Te amamos mucho hijo (we love you very much son),” read a statement shared by the family. “We please ask for time and space for our family to process this tragic news and begin to heal. We’re comforted by the impact Franco made on hundreds of people over the years and that they will carry a piece of him from now on.”

Eight people died and hundreds were injured Friday night when the crowd rushed the stage during a performance by the rapper Travis Scott at the festival attended by 50,000 people. Over 300 people were treated at a field hospital on site and at least 13 people remained hospitalized on Sunday.

Investigators were watching video, interviewing witnesses and reviewing event procedures Monday to try to determine what went wrong. More than a dozen lawsuits had been filed as of Monday, and Live Nation announced it was delaying ticket sales for a Billy Joel concert at a different venue in Houston.

Patino was attending the music festival with his best friend, Jacob Jurinek, to celebrate Jurinek’s birthday, the Washington Post reported. Jurinek also died at the festival.

Patino’s parents, Teresita and Julio Patino, and his brothers Cesar and Julio Jr., called his death devastating.

“He was loved by so many because of the loyal, loving, selfless, protective, funny and caring person he was,” the statement read. “Even though he was a hardworking individual, he would always try to make time for his family and the people he cared about. We will miss the big heart Franco had and his passion for helping others. We’re glad Franco always tried to live life to the fullest and are glad to know he was the type of person that would put others before himself until the very end.”

ExploreAstroworld tragedy evokes memories of The Who Concert tragedy

Investigators planned to examine the design of safety barriers and the use of crowd control at the event.

Contemporary Services Corp., headquartered in Los Angeles, was responsible for security staff at the festival, according to county records in Texas. Representatives for the company have not responded to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

Astroworld’s organizers had laid out security and emergency medical response protocols in festival plans filed with Harris County, including a 56-page operations plan, obtained by The Associated Press

Steven Adelman, vice president of the industry group Event Safety Alliance — said investigators should look at safety barriers and whether they correctly directed crowds or contributed to the crush. He also said authorities will consider whether something incited the crowd besides Scott taking the stage, and whether there were enough security personnel, noting a nationwide shortage of people willing to take low-wage, part-time security gigs.

There is a history of catastrophes at concerts, as well as sporting and religious events. In 1979, 11 people were killed as thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum to see a concert by The Who. Other crowd catastrophes include the deaths of 97 people at a soccer match in Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 in Sheffield, England.

ExploreMourning starts as Houston officials probe concert deaths

Julio Patino described his son as someone who loved his mother, adding that the mechanical engineering technology student was working with a team on a new medical device, according to an article by the AP. The news agency reported Patino wanted to find a way to help his mother walk again after she was injured in a crash in Mexico.

Patino was the treasurer of Alpha Psi Lambda, a Hispanic interest fraternity at UD, and active in the Greek and the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center communities on campus.

Patino also was the president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, part of the ETHOS program and was working for AtriCure Inc. in Mason. He organized a rugby team in Dayton that played games with other area universities.

Patino graduated at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville in 2018, where he was involved in the football, rugby and wrestling teams.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.

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