Naperville Devastated by the Death of Two Astroworld Victims In The Community

Two best friends unexpectedly killed in a crowd surge at Houston festival.

What was initially supposed to be a night full of excitement and fun for two best friends ended in tragedy at rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival this past week. There are current reports of at least ten people deceased from the event, two of which being Franco Patino and Jacob Jurinek from Naperville. Astroworld soon became “one of the deadliest concerts in U.S History,” the Houston Chronicle states. Families, friends, and other concert-goers were devastated for the victims who lost their lives, especially in the Naperville community.

Patino and Jurinek were best friends who grew up together and graduated from Neuqua Valley High School. Patino graduated in 2018, where he was a three-sport athlete and a student mentor on the football team. Patino played football with Jurinek, who was a year younger than him, and even coached him while being best friends in high school together. Upon graduation, they both went to different colleges. Patino attended the University of Dayton in Ohio, and Jurinek attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

The festival was a way they could finally reunite again to celebrate Jurinek’s 21st birthday.  However, the event soon descended into chaos. During the event, it only became more packed in the crowd, making it difficult for even first responders to make their way through the hundreds of people. Each person was pushing to get out, with videos continuously being uploaded of attendees being pulled from barricades. Patino and Jurinek were caught in the crowd surge.

Patino’s family sent out a statement through the University of Dayton upon hearing of his death. “Franco was a beloved friend, cousin, nephew, brother and son. He was loved by so many because of the loyal, loving, selfless, protective, funny and caring person he was,” his family said on Monday. “We will miss the big heart Franco had and his passion for helping others.”

Jurinek’s family said 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.”

Neuqua Valley High School Principal Lance Fuhrer sent out a letter to families saying that once individual services for the two victims occur, “we will invite students, staff and alumni to honor the friendship of Franco and Jacob with a shared memorial service at our school.” 

Evelyn Lee, a student at Neuqua Valley High school stated in an interview with the Courier that, “They gave them a moment of silence in the announcements. They specified their names and the fact they were graduates. I never thought something like that could happen to people from my own school.” 

Patino and Jurinek left an impact even on those who weren’t in the same graduating class. Their impact stayed with people throughout the years, even fellow students who knew them or heard about them on the football team, or in photos around the school. 

“I just want people to know that my brother isn’t just a number at a concert that died,” Patino’s brother, Cesar, said in a statement to NBC 5. “He was a good, amazing person that loved to have joy and fun in his life, and wanted to be living his life to the fullest.”