Neuqua Valley HS hosts vigil for graduates killed in Astroworld tragedy


NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Two best friends from Naperville were remembered Friday by the high school they graduated from after they died in a concert crush.

Franco Patino, 21, and Jacob Jurinek, 20, were among the 10 that died Friday, Nov. 5, during Travis Scott’s headlining set at the Astroworld Music Festival. Mourners held a vigil Friday night at Neuqua Valley High School in their honor.

Despite the tragedy occurring almost three weeks ago, the community postponed the memorial service so that the victim’s friends could participate while visiting home from college.

In remembrance of Patino and Jurinek, gatherers held up lights during a moment of silence to symbolize two bright young lives lost.

“Jacob, Franco, we love you,” said one mourner. “We are proud of the men you are. You will forever be in our hearts. “

Patino and Jurinek were among the 50,000 who went to the Astroworld Festival in the first week of November. The pair were celebrating Jurinek’s upcoming 21st birthday.

“They were everything wanted in a Nequa Valley football player,” said head coach Bill Ellinghaus. “Disciplined. Determined.”

When rapper Travis Scott took the stage, the tightly packed crowd surged, leading to a stampede that injured dozen. As a result, at least 10 people have died.

Jurinek was a 2019 graduate of Neuqua Valley High Schoo and a junior at Southern Illinois University. He was studying art and media and made the Dean’s List last semester.   

“It starts with family and friends and it moves throughout the community, where you realize how many lives they touched,” said Ron Jurinek, the victim’s father.

Patino, a 2018 Nequa Valley graduate, was a senior at the University of Dayton. He was majoring in mechanical engineering and had an interest in building prosthetics. He also regularly volunteered with community groups.   

“This has really helped us to pass through all this hard time,” said Julio Patino, the victim’s father. “We really appreciate that you loved my son and thank you for being here.”   

The families of Jurinek and Patino have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Scott and event organizers, accusing them of not doing what they could have to prevent the chaos in the crowd.   

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