Man Killed In Assault at a Hank Williams Jr. Concert in Michigan


UPDATE (8-24): The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department has ruled the death a homicide, though the investigation is considered still to be ongoing, and no charges have been filed. “Preliminary information said that kind of a shoving altercation was occurring between the teenager and the victim,” Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. “Early information is that it actually precipitated by the victim.”

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Robert Kobe of Westland, Michigan was pronounced dead Tuesday (8-19) at 12:04 PM after being assaulted at a Hank Williams Jr. concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Independence Township, Michigan on Sunday, August 17th. The 55-year-old man suffered a serious head injury at the hands of a 15-year-old male who shoved him in the concourse area, resulting in the man hitting his head violently on the concrete floor according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses describe the teen shoving Robert Kobe just before 9 PM, and then attempting to flee the scene. The victim was found in a pool of blood on the concourse, while bystanders caught and detained the teen until police arrived. The teen was attending the concert with his father.

Robert Kobe was rushed to McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, MI where he was placed on life support and was reported to be in very grave condition on Monday. Early Tuesday afternoon, Robert Kobe died of his injuries.

The teen was detained at the Oakland County’s Children’s Village juvenile detention facility on Sunday night, and was released on Monday by a juvenile court referee into the custody of his parents. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says the incident is still under investigation, and they have not decided what to charge the teen with, or if to charge him as a juvenile or an adult. Because the victim has died, the charges could escalate from assault to second-degree murder. The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office is also reported to be reviewing the case. There has been no information released on if alcohol was involved in the incident. Robert Kobe’s body is scheduled for autopsy.

Neither Hank Williams Jr. or the DTE Energy Music Theatre have released statements about the death, but a spokesperson for the over 15,000-capacity venue said they do not comment on criminal matters involving patrons.

UPDATE (8-20): The Detroit Free Press reports that the victim’s son, 29-year-old Cory Kobe, says that Robert Kobe may have provoked the fatal shove, and that Robert Kobe and the teen knew each other and were friends. “I want to make sure that this young man gets fair treatment,” Cory Kobe said. “There are a lot of indications that there was no malicious intent.” Police have offered no further comment on the incident, and say the investigation is ongoing.

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The death of Robert Kobe is the second death at a country music concert this summer. A 22-year-old man was found dead in a dumpster in late July after a Jason Aldean concert in what is thought to be an alcohol-related incident. There was also a report of a gang rape at the Faster Horses Festival in mid July in Michigan.

Violence and incidents at mainstream country music concerts this summer have been making headlines. 20 people were arrested at a Luke Bryan concert in New York State on Saturday, 8-16. On August 7th, three people were stabbed at “We Fest” in Minnesota. On August 2nd, a drunk driver ran over a police officer at a Jason Aldean concert, and 30 concertgoers were taken to local hospitals. Earlier in the summer, 55 people were arrested, and 22 taken to hospitals at a Keith Urban show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Mass. Later it was also revealed that an alleged rape happened in the venue’s lawn section while as many as 15 people stood and watched and took video of the incident. An annual event in Pittsburgh became a national story when pictures of trash and drunken patrons went viral in late June.

The news has not been all bad, however. A Kenny Chesney concert over the weekend only saw one arrest out of a crowd of 40,000 people.

READ- How We Got Here: The Subversion of Country Music

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