‘Praying for their families’: ‘Heartbroken’ GloRilla sends message to fans as second woman dies after stampede at concert when crowd thought they heard gunfire minutes after she and Finesse2Tymes performed
- A 35-year-old woman has been announced as the second to die at the stampede
- The first has been named as Rhondesia Belton, 33, of Buffalo
A 35-year-old woman has been announced as the second to die at a stampede after a rap concert in Rochester, New York, when the crowd thought they heard gunfire minutes after GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes finished performing.
The 33-year-old who it was previously announced had died following the event at the Main Street Armory arena on Sunday night has been named as Rhondesia Belton, of Buffalo.
The 35-year-old’s death was announced late Monday by Rochester Police. Her name has not been released.
Another 35-year-old woman is being treated for life-threatening injuries at Strong Hospital, according to police.
At least seven additional people were treated at area hospitals for injuries that were not life-threatening.
The 33-year-old who it was previously announced had died following the event at the Main Street Armory arena on Sunday night has been named as Rhondesia Belton (pictured left), of Buffalo. GloRilla (pictured right) and Finesse2Tymes had just finished playing at the Main Street Armory in Rochester
Today, GloRilla tweeted: ‘I am devastated & heartbroken over the tragic deaths that happened after Sunday’s show. My fans mean the world to me.
‘Praying for their families & for a speedy recovery of everyone affected’.
GloRilla and Finesse2tymes had finished performing Sunday night when thousands of concertgoers surged towards the exits of the venue at around 11.05pm. Authorities said the stampede may have been triggered by unfounded fears of gunfire.
Rochester Police said that whilst they had attended the scene following a report of a shooting, detectives have determined that none of the injuries that the victims’ sustained were consistent with a person being shot.
‘We do not have any evidence of gunshots being fired or of anyone being shot or stabbed at the scene,’ Police Chief David M. Smith said at a news briefing Monday.
Witnesses have spoken of how they were struggling to breathe and saw others around them fall to the floor, with one woman saying: ‘I could feel my breath leaving my body’.
‘All I know, it was a lot of running. A lot of people got hurt. I see people on the ground, like hurt badly,’ one witness told News10NBC. ‘It was deathly packed. So I knew I had to get up out of there,’ he added.
GloRilla has tweeted messages of hope to her fans after the incident
A 35-year-old woman has been announced as the second to die at a stampede after a rap concert in Rochester, New York. Pictured: Police rush to the scene
Pictured: Concertgoers leave the Main Street Armory venue in Rochester on Sunday night following the stampede
Police officers arrived at the venue (pictured), which can accommodate up to 5,000 people, following a report of shots fired inside the music venue and found several injured victims on the floor
Footage from inside the venue showed security officers and concertgoers trying to help people who had collapsed on the ground
Police officers arrived at the venue, which can accommodate up to 5,000 people, following a report of shots fired inside the music venue and found several injured victims on the floor.
Emergency crews rushed Rhondesia Belton and two other victims to Strong Memorial Hospital in an ambulance.
Belton died as a result of her injuries.
Belton 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.’
‘At this time, there is no evidence to support a shooting having occurred inside the event,’ Lt Nicholas Adams of Rochester Police said.
‘The injuries appear to be as a result of a large crowd pushing towards the exits following accounts of individuals hearing what they believed to be gunshots.’
Smith said that RPD officers, security, and emergency medical services went inside the building to help the three women with life-threatening injuries.
All three were taken to the Strong Memorial Hospital by ambulance, where two died and the other is in critical condition.
Smith said that RPD is investigating the incident to not only determine what happened but to bring accountability for those responsible.
RPD is trying to determine whether the crowd size exceeded the capacity of the Armory and whether the proper safety measures were taken.
They are working with multiple agencies including the city’s Code Enforcement, Law Department, and The New York State Liquor Authority. They are also interviewing people at the concert and security.
‘We are hearing many reports of potential causes, including crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray,’ Smith said.
Smith is asking anyone with pictures or videos that could help with the investigation to get in touch with the police.
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.
GloRilla, who was performing at the venue, tweeted: ‘I’m just now hearing about what happened. Praying everybody is ok’
The female victim and eight others were crushed in the stampede during a show by GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes (pictured) at the Main Street Armory theatre in Rochester on Sunday night at around 11.05pm
She described being ‘on the ground, just scared, praying, like, you got to get up, you got to move’.
She added: ‘If you stay here, they’re going to keep running you over. So, you got to get up. You got to move.’
Security guard Anthony Rouse told WHEC he signed up to work when he learned his daughter was going to the concert.
She was hurt in the rush to the exits and spent part of Monday in the hospital, he said.
‘The whole reason I signed on was to protect her,’ he said. ‘And I failed.’
Rouse said he was near the stage when his daughter went down near the entrance of the crowded hall.
‘What began last night as a night of live music and fun for the performer GloRilla ended in tragedy,’ said Smith, the police chief.
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.
‘We are going to hold people accountable for what happened last night, period,’ Evans said, though he cautioned that it was too early in the investigation to assign blame. ‘I intend to get to the bottom of this.’
‘If you go to a concert, you do not expect to be trampled,’ Evans said. ‘Your loved ones expect you to be able to come home and talk about the experience that you had at that great concert.’
GloRilla, whose 2022 song ‘F.N.F. (Let’s Go)’ with Hitkidd was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance, tweeted yesterday that she was ‘praying everybody is ok’.
Fatal crowd surges have been a recurring disaster at concerts and other large events in the U.S. and around the world, including one at a 2021 concert by rapper Travis Scott in which 10 people died.
Built from 1905 to 1907 and initially used by the U.S. Army, the armory hosted sporting events throughout the 20th century before being shut down for several years starting in the late 1990s, partly because it lacked a fire suppression system at the time.
They were injured when the crowd mistakenly thought they heard the sound of gunshots amidst the loud music and rushed for the exits. Pictured: Police officers and medics responding to the incident
Rochester police said there was no shooting at the venue (file image of the Main Street Armory) but some in the panicked crowd were injured during the stampede
It reopened after extensive renovations and began hosting concerts and other events in 2005. Smith said its main arena is meant to have a capacity of about 5,000 people, and the city fire marshal will work with police to determine whether that capacity was exceeded Sunday.
City officials said the facility underwent a physical fire safety inspection in December and was compliant with fire codes.
The venue’s next scheduled show, a Saturday performance by the rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, has been canceled.
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