2 Dead in Stampede at Glorilla Concert in New York
Karen Matthews, Associated Press, March 6, 2023
The death toll rose to two on Monday following a stampede at a rap concert in Rochester, New York, that authorities said may have been triggered by unfounded fears of gunfire.
The Memphis rap stars GloRilla and Finesse2tymes had finished performing Sunday night at Rochester’s Main Street Armory when something prompted people to surge dangerously toward the exits just after 11 p.m., Police Chief David M. Smith said at a news briefing Monday.
“We do not have any evidence of gunshots being fired or of anyone being shot or stabbed at the scene,” Smith said.
Concertgoer Ikea Hayes returned to the venue Monday to retrieve belongings she left behind.
“I was watching my life flash before my eyes, and I still didn’t even know what was going on,” she told Rochester television station WHEC. She described being “on the ground, just scared, praying, like, you got to get up, you got to move. If you stay here, they’re going to keep running you over. So, you got to get up. You got to move.”
Police found three badly injured women in the auditorium. One, Rhondesia Belton, of Buffalo, died at a hospital. Belton, 33, worked for Buffalo’s Traffic Violations Agency, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown tweeted Monday evening.
“Her family, friends, and colleagues are devastated and left to mourn this tragic loss,” Brown said. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Rochester Police announced the death of a 35-year-old woman late Monday. Her name was not released. Another woman remained in critical condition, police said. Seven additional people were treated at area hospitals for injuries that were not life-threatening.
While there is no evidence of gunfire, Smith said, police are investigating several possible causes of the fatal surge, including “possibly crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray and other contributing factors.”
Mayor Malik Evans called the fatal stampede “totally unacceptable” and promised a thorough investigation into whether venue operators had the necessary safety measures in place for a large crowd.