Editor’s Note: You can view the full press conference from Mayor Evans and Chief David Smith at the bottom of the article.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Three people died and eight were injured following a trampling incident during a concert at the Main Street Armory, according to the Rochester Police Department.
RPD has identified the second and third deceased victim. 35-year-old Rochester resident Brandy Miller passed away Monday evening. 35-year-old Syracuse resident Aisha Stephens passed away Wednesday evening.
Investigators say a concert featuring GloRilla and Finesse2tymes was winding down when audience members on their way out began to surge and rush towards the exit.
First responders found three women with significant injuries inside the venue. RPD, security, and EMS personnel began life-saving measures on the victims.
The three women were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where one of the victims — Rhondesia Belton, 33, from Buffalo — was pronounced dead. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown tweeted Monday that Belton was an employee of the City of Buffalo Traffic Violations Agency.
Two others were initially listed in critical condition. Police said they were a 35-year-old woman from Syracuse and a 35-year-old woman from Rochester. One of those people died from their injuries Monday evening. Police are withholding their identity until family can be notified.
Seven other people were hospitalized with what police said were non-life-threatening injuries.
RPD said that there were initially reports of gunshots fired inside the venue, but investigators later determined none of the victims had shooting-related injuries, nor was there evidence of a shooting taking place at the venue.
GloRilla said on Twitter that she is heartbroken over the deaths that occurred at the show, saying that she is praying for the recovery of those affected in the incident.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said while the cause of the incident is unclear, he intends to find out what happened. In a press conference Monday morning, Evans said concert-goers should not fear getting trampled.
“We are going to hold people accountable for what happened last night, period,” Mayor Evans said. “When you put on a concert in this city or anywhere around the country, you have to make sure that all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.”
A concert scheduled for March 11 at the venue was cancelled Monday, after City of Rochester officials met Main Street Armory owner Scott Donaldson, according to a statement from the city.
“City officials will meet with Mr. Donaldson later this week to discuss the path forward for the Main Street Armory as an entertainment venue,” the statement said.
Venues such as the Main Street Armory are able to request RPD presence outside of buildings if they anticipate large crowds. City officials said that the Main Street Armory had eight RPD officers outside the venue during the concert.
The Main Street Armory has a maximum capacity of 5,000 people, according to city officials.
The City of Rochester confirmed that the Main Street Armory has two city code violations — one for “unapproved activity” for a business operation at the back of the business. City officials said that this has ceased and the materials were in the process of being moved.
The second violation was for an unapproved dwelling unit, with city officials adding that there was no evidence the unit was occupied.
Despite these violations, the Main Street Armory is current and compliant with all fire codes, according to the City of Rochester. The last physical fire safety inspection was completed in December 2022, with sprinkler and alarm reports being received in January 2023.
Mayor Evans said that multiple agencies will be investigating to determine the cause of the stampede. Chief David Smith asks anyone with information to call 911 or send photos and videos to email@example.com.
Full Press Conference:
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.
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