Both Deaths Appeared To Involve Ecstasy, According To The City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The popular Electric Zoo Music Festival on Randalls Island was canceled Sunday, after two people have died and at least four others became critically ill from suspected drug overdoses.

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As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, big speakers came down, trash was cleared, and festival goers were turned away after the two deaths.

“You know, it’s terrible,” said patron Kyle Maltz. “It’s such a good event.”

Police identified the two festival goers who died as Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y. and Olivia Rotondo, 20, of Providence, R.I.

Jeff Russ, left, and Olivia Rotondo (credit: Facebook)

Jeff Russ, left, and Olivia Rotondo (credit: Facebook)

Russ was a recent graduate of Syracuse University, while Rotondo was a junior at the University of New Hampshire.

The causes of death have not been officially determined, but the city said it appeared both involved the drug MDMA, known as ecstasy, or as molly in its powder or crystal form.

UPDATE 9/12/:13: According to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Rotondo died of  acute methylenedioxymethamphetamine intoxication with hyperthermia. Russ succumbed to acute intoxication by the combined effects of methylenedioxymethamphetimine and methylone with hyperthermia.

The four sickened at the event were in intensive care at area hospitals, the city said.

“I don’t want to speculate, obviously, but that’s terrible, terrible news,” Maltz said.

Others complained that it seemed like everyone was being forced to pay for the deaths.

The city had called on the festival’s organizers to cancel the show’s final day and the event promoters agreed, the city said.

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“The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today,” the organizers with the Long Island City, Queens-based group Made Event said in a statement released Sunday.

GALLERY: Electric Zoo Music Festival 2013

Twitter erupted with comments following the cancellation, many of which blamed the city and the Bloomberg administration for choosing to call off the events Sunday.

“I’m still so tight about EZoo. What a disaster. I no longer like you Mayor Bloomberg,” tweeted Jeffrey Beyer.

“(B)etter get my damn money back!! Why is everyone being punished for others mistakes?” tweeted “paulny.”

“Was going to NY later for electric zoo and these idiots OD and die, and they cancel it? If you die on the parkway, the parade doesn’t stop,” tweeted SPOT.

Some others used less than polite language to vent their frustration about the cancellation on Twitter.

But another Twitter user, “Emily,” countered, “To the ppl that are upset about losing their $180 bc electric zoo was cancelled – way to be selfish in the absolute worst way possible.”

The event has been held every Labor Day weekend since 2009. Diplo and David Guetta were among the performers this year.

The three-day E-Zoo festival began on Friday. Among the other headliners for the fifth annual show were Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren, and Avicii.

Tickets for the event started at $179 per day. Patrons were told they will get a refund.

Meanwhile, a major investigation into the incident was underway Sunday night.

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