Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Autopsy says ecstasy abuse caused Sunset Music Festival deaths

TAMPA — Abuse of the drug ecstasy caused the deaths of two people at the Sunset Music Festival in late May, an autopsy report released Monday said.

Alex Haynes, 22, of Melbourne, and Katie Bermudez, 21, of Kissimmee, died after attending the electronic dance music festival held on the Raymond James Stadium grounds from May 28-29. They were among 57 concertgoers who were transported by city and county rescue crews from the festival to hospitals.

The casualties drew an admonition from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who said in June he didn't think future EDM festivals should be held on public property — citing "a culture of this type of drug use."

The Tampa Sports Authority, a public agency, manages Raymond James Stadium. City spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said Monday that the mayor's position on the event is unchanged.

Ecstasy, the nickname for MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and sister drug MDA, were found in the blood of Haynes and Bermudez, according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office

The office ruled the manner of each death to be accidental drug abuse. In an earlier report for Buckhorn, the Tampa Police Department said EDM festivals are a haven for the type of drug use that killed Haynes and Bermudez.

Although arrests at Sunset were at a three-year low, many arrests and citations included charges involving MDMA, LSD and marijuana.

"This type of event attracts drug use, typically hallucinogenic in the form of MDMA (Molly) and LSD which often times results in overdoses and a plethora of medical calls," the report from police said.

Another earlier report from Tampa Fire Rescue said suspected drug use combined with severe heat "put a significant drain on manpower."

A separate review from the Tampa Sports Authority is expected to wrap up in a month or more, said Bobby Silvest, authority spokesman.

Sunset Music Festival representatives could not be reached for comment Monday.

Contact Samuel Howard at [email protected] or (813)-226-3373. Follow @SamuelHHoward.

Autopsy says ecstasy abuse caused Sunset Music Festival deaths 07/18/16 [Last modified: Monday, July 18, 2016 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Times
 file photo]

  3. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  4. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended

    Nation

    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  5. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.