HOUSTON — Axel Acosta, the 21-year-old who loved rap music and traveled from Washington to attend Astroworld Festival, was one of eight people killed during the event Friday.
Axel's father, Edgar, described him as a great kid, an excellent student and someone who loved his family dearly, especially his grandparents.
"He was trying to study and go to school to be an engineer ... computer programmer ... because he wanted to provide for his family," Edgar said. "He was the first grandkid, he was the oldest one. He always took care of his cousins and nieces.”
Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee is representing Axel's family in a lawsuit against Travis Scott, Live Nation and Astroworld Festival organizers. Although an autopsy has not yet been released, Buzbee claims Acosta died from compressive asphyxiation, which is basically extreme compression of the body. Buzbee said it happened due to a phenomenon known as crowd rush and the air was literally squeezed of out his body.
"The immense force of the unruly and out-of-control crowd created by the defendants' gross negligence created such significant pressure on to his body that he could not breathe," Buzbee said during a press conference with Axel's family Monday.
Edgar said it took him and his family some time to find out that Axel was among one of the dead. Edgar said when they heard the news about the tragedy at Astroworld Festival, he immediately called Axel. When he didn't answer, Edgar said he called Axel's hotel and employees said Axel did not spend the night at the hotel Friday night.
“Axel was not the kind of young man that didn’t answer his phone or did not stay in touch with his brother or dad. They knew something was up," Buzbee said.
Edgar said that's when he started calling the police and the reunification center at the hotel near NRG Park, the site of the festival. Edgar said he was told over and over that his son was neither on the list of the injured nor the dead.
Axel's phone was later found in the lost and found collection at the Astroworld Festival site. At this point, Edgar said he was calling hospitals but was still told not to worry because his son's name was not on the list of dead or injured.
It wasn't until a photo started circulating around the internet that Edgar learned his son was dead.
"The way they found out about this is horrific," Buzbee said.
When asked what he wants to accomplish about this lawsuit, Edgar took a long pause and said he wants to make changes to these types of events.
“Today is me. I lost my son. It could have been you.” Edgar said pointing at a reporter.
Buzbee said he plans on filing the lawsuit on Axel's behalf in the coming days. He has already filed a temporary restraining order against the Astroworld Festival team to protect the evidence in this case.