JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH (WJW) – A Northeast Ohio father recounts a terrifying ordeal after his teenage son was injured at the deadly Travis Scott rap concert in Houston.
Eight people were killed during a massive crowd surge and dozens more were hurt.
The 17-year-old boy from Jackson Township in Stark County did not feel up to talking Wednesday. His father says he is still in a lot of pain.
Cooper Downerd is a huge Travis Scott fan and bought tickets to the Astroworld Festival in May. He worked odd jobs to raise money to buy the concert and plane tickets for him and his father to attend the event in Texas.
“He had footprints all over him, you know, he had been trampled,” said his father, Todd Downerd.
Downerd says his son was in the ADA section due to recent ankle surgery. His father had gone to buy him a T-shirt just before the concert began.
“At this time, Travis Scott had started and I was trying to push my way through and actually there was a surge of people coming out of that area and they were trying to get out of it because it was so bad and that pushed me back,” said the father.
Downerd said he eventually made his way to the area, but Cooper wasn’t there. About 20 minutes later, his son called, saying he had been injured by the surge.
“He goes ‘Dad, it’s not good. I have a neck brace on’ and I made a beeline and I had to cut through all those people again to try to get to the medical tent and when I got to the medical tent, he was there on a cot, in a neck brace… He had lost his shoes,” said Downerd.
Cooper had scrapes on his forehead, but his vital signs were fine. His father says he personally witnessed that others weren’t as fortunate.
“I saw at least six people getting CPR and I knew they didn’t make it. I mean, I could tell you can’t do CPR that long and somebody survives. I saw the flatlines on the EKG machines and it was just terrible,” Downerd said.
Cooper was eventually taken to the hospital by ambulance and released early Saturday morning. Todd says he could tell even before the concert that the situation was getting out of hand.
He provided our sister station, WJW, with video of people shooting off small fireworks and says there was a surge to get in before the deadly one inside.
“Close to 10 a.m., actually it was more like 9:30 a.m., there was a surge and people just pushed through the gate and people just started running over the foot bridge to get to the main entrance,” said Downerd.
Cooper’s father says he’s been to his fair share of concerts, but never experienced anything like this.
“It’s the unspoken rule. If somebody goes down, you pick them up and that just wasn’t happening. The security seemed like there wasn’t enough security, so I think it failed on so many levels,” he said.
Downerd says doctors back here in Ohio determined that his son does have a concussion.
He’ll be out of school for at least the rest of the week.