College student who dreamed of becoming border patrol officer among Astroworld Festival victims

Pena was one of the eight victims killed at the music festival Friday

HOUSTON – A concertgoer from Laredo is among one of the eight that died during the tragic events at Astroworld Festival Friday night.

Rudy Pena, 23, traveled to Houston from Laredo to attend Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival with friends, his sister, Jennifer, told KPRC 2. She said Rudy is the youngest of five siblings.

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Jennifer says she is worried for her mother as she has expressed anger towards the events at Astroworld Festival. Family members say she currently has “a hole in her heart.”

Rudy had hopes of becoming a border patrol officer, said Jennifer. He was taking a break from his criminal justice classes at Laredo College.

“Yesterday it hit me. I came to leave flowers and pictures and I started crying because out everyone it was a close friend of mine,” said friend Stacey Sarmiento.

Sarmiento said she first met Pena in high school.

“He was an athlete, so he was well known. He was also like a people person. He brought happiness everywhere he went,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said she and her friend were with Rudy for a few moments but they got split up.

“When we saw him, it was kind of towards the back and they all looked fine but everyone was just pushing and shoving,” said Sarmiento.

She, like many concertgoers, described the festival as chaotic and said she felt lucky to get out alive.

“Personally, me and him like we fell in the crowd and we thought it was over for us. We couldn’t breathe,” Sarmiento.

Pena’s sister said Rudy was taking a break from college but dreamed of becoming a Border Patrol Agent.

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.

Reporter, proud Houstonian, U of H alumni, and lover of all the hometown sport teams.