ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester announced Monday there will be no criminal charges filed after their investigation into the March trampling at the Main Street Armory.

Three people died and eight were injured following a trampling incident during a concert at the Main Street Armory in March. The city released its report on the resulting investigation Tuesday.

The investigation was conducted by the City’s Law Department, Police and Fire Departments, the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development and Code Enforcement teams. It found that most of the security cameras inside the venue —including those on three ATM machines— were not functioning. Investigators were unable to examine footage of the incident.

According to investigators, the Armory’s owner, Scott Donaldson, cooperated with the investigation at the scene. He estimated there were 3,000 people inside the venue for the concert, while the Armory’s general manager estimated a crown of 3,900. The venue license puts its maximum capacity at 5,000.

Investigators determined there were 10-15 security team members at the Armory the night of the event, employees of the Enterprise Security Consulting and Training Company hired by the Armory to provide security. The investigation did find that, “it appeared as though Security was unable to manage the size and volume of the crowd.”

Through interviews with security personnel, investigators determined roughly 200 people attempted to get into the venue less than 20 minutes before the concert ended, many of them claiming to be VIPs. All 200 of those people “were able to overtake Security” and rush into the foyer, moving into the venue. Security attempted to prevent them from entering further.

At around this time, investigators said the concert ended, and thousands of people began moving toward the exit. They pressed up against the hundreds attempting to move inside.

“This ‘traffic jam’ is one of the likely contributing factors to the stampede,” the report said. “Additional reports provided the crowd was exiting the front doors when an unknown issue, further inside the Armory, created a rush or surge of people pushing violently toward the exit.”

Calls to 911 the night of the incident indicate the “unknown issue” occurred when concert attendees came to believe there was a shooting, stabbing, or overdose inside the venue. Investigators said reports of loud pops were likely caused by confetti poppers used at the end of the concert.

Of the more than 100 people interviewed throughout the investigation, none provided a firsthand account of hearing gunshots or loud pops. No physical evidence was found to indicate gunshots were fired inside, and police stationed outside the Armory the night of the concert were able to disprove claims that shots were fired outside.

According to the City, based on the information and evidence, both the RPD and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office determined there is no basis for criminal charges in the case.

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.

Following the trampling, the Rochester Police Department denied the renewal of the Armory’s entertainment license Wednesday, meaning the Armory is no longer allowed to host any public entertainment.

The City of Rochester says they are “reviewing its entertainment licensing procedures to identify and implement additional conditions that would increase safety and security for entertainment patrons in Rochester.”

The City adds that the new owners of the Main Street Armory would have to apply for an entertainment license, should there be a re-opening of the venue.

Read the report

Armory IAR by News 8 WROC on Scribd