Astroworld victim was in his last year of college and aspiring model

November 7, 2021
Rodolfo Angel Peña, 23, was a student and aspiring model from Laredo. He was one of eight victims who died at the Astroworld Festival Friday.


HOUSTON — Rodolfo Angel Peña, 23, was an aspiring model and psychology student from Laredo who dreamed of one day becoming a U.S. Border Patrol agent or seeing where his charm and good looks would take him. 

On Friday, he and some friends drove the five hours from Laredo to Houston to blow off steam at the Travis Scott show at the Astroworld Festival. By Saturday afternoon, his family was making funeral arrangements for him. 

Peña was one of eight people who died Friday night when thousands of concertgoers rushed to the stage to see Scott, overwhelming security and creating a chaotic nightmare. 

His older brother, Guadalupe Peña, said authorities told the family only that his brother died of cardiac arrest while at the show. 

“He’s a real strong person,” he told USA TODAY. “I know he would have gotten out of it. It seems real sketchy how it happened.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Saturday said 25 people were transported to the hospital, and 13 are still hospitalized. A 10-year-old is in critical condition, officials said. There were scores of other injuries. At least 11, like Peña, suffered cardiac arrest.

The victims who died ranged in age from 14 to 27, Turner said. One person’s age was unknown. Turner did not identify those who were killed in the incident, and said family members of six of the eight have been notified. Autopsies will be performed before the victims are released to their families, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. 

Guadalupe Peña shared details of his brother’s life in the lobby of a Houston hotel Saturday, as his mother paced nearby, wailing occasionally. 

“The one who’s suffering the most is his mom,” he said. 

The youngest of five siblings, Rodolfo Angel Peña was a star wide receiver at Nixon High School in Laredo and was in his last year at Laredo College, he said. He was taking psychology courses, hoping to score a well-paying job with Border Patrol or with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He also worked as a chiropractic therapist. 

He was well-known and beloved throughout Laredo, said Eduardo Peña, his other brother. “Everyone knew him,” he said. 

Rodolfo Angel Peña loved dancing and was into fashion, Guadalupe Peña said. And he loved music. He attended the last Astroworld Festival in 2019, but this was his first Travis Scott concert, he said. 

The family was planning a funeral for him in Laredo. They still had a lot of questions about how his brother died, Guadalupe Peña said. 

“He came up yesterday for the concert,” he said. “Next thing we know, he’s gone.”

Follow Jervis on Twitter: @MrRJervis.


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