Fresno rave death could bring changes

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Fresno city officials are taking a closer look at the death of a teenager at a downtown rave last weekend and whether it could affect future events. (KFSN)

Fresno city officials are taking a closer look at the death of a teenager at a downtown rave last weekend and whether it could affect future events.

Debbie Yang, 18, died and friends believe it was a drug overdose during a show at the Crest Theatre.

Some downtown business owners believe raves are out of control. They're asking for a seat at the table as city leaders decide what they're allowing to happen.

As hundreds of people danced the night away at the Crest Theatre Saturday, Yang's good time took a bad turn. Witnesses said she passed out and neither employees nor paramedics could save her.

Fresno police didn't get the call that night, but homicide detectives are on the case now. Lt. Burke Farrah said toxicology reports will show whether Yang died of an overdose and if she did, nobody is likely to be held responsible. But it may still cause trouble for the promoter Kailin Hwang.

"We'll be taking a look at future events," Lt. Farrah said. "This is now the second incident in which this promoter has been involved where someone has died from ingesting narcotics, so it's definitely something we'll take a look at."

Houa Hue died during an August 2015 event at the Fresno Fairgrounds, also organized by Hwang.

"The Fresno fairgrounds stopped doing business with K-Lin effective June 2016 due to excessive damages and vandalism to our facility from past events," said the fair's deputy manager Lauri King.

But Hwang does have an event scheduled for October at Chukchansi Park-- which is owned by the city of Fresno. For the time being, it's still on.

"We have a signed agreement, and unless facts prove otherwise, we plan to move forward with the event," city manager Bruce Rudd said.

Hwang told Action News his heart goes out to the families, but said banning regulated events like his won't help.

The owners of some downtown businesses want the city to enforce stricter regulations. They said raves are out of control and they want to be part of the regulating process.

"If we're going to allow our children in Fresno to go to raves and possibly lose their lives then you need to have the community at these meetings," said Kathy Omachi of Chinatown Revitalization Inc.

We tried to reach the owners of the Crest Theatre, but never heard back from them.


Entire statement from promoter Kailin Hwang:
"First and foremost, our hearts go out to the friends and family of the young woman that lost her life after attending the event. The health and safety of our fans is our first priority and we take every measure to create a safe environment. We don't condone or tolerate drug use, but the problem here isn't dance music or events in general. The impact of drug use in our country extends far beyond what happens at events. It's sad but peoples lives are lost daily from drug use that are not related to dance events but nobody is writing about them. Banning these events at facilities with ample security and first rate response is not the answer. If we're trying to create a safe and secure environment, sending them back into unregulated environments isn't a step in the right direction. We all need to do our part in educating our youth and encourage them to be accountable for their choices. We ask all fans to take care of themselves and look out for one another at all events."

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death investigationfresnoFresno - Downtown
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