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Third woman dies after NY concert crowd crush

Aisha Stephens, 35, had been in hospital since the incident at the Main Street Armory venue in Rochester, New York last Sunday

By James Hanley on 10 Mar 2023

Main Street Armory

image © Matthew D. Wilson

A third person has died as a result of injuries sustained in the crowd crush that followed a concert at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York last weekend.

Aisha Stephens, 35, of Syracuse, had been in hospital since the incident after the show by US rapper GloRilla ended just after 11pm on 5 March. Two other women, Rhondesia Belton, 33, and 35-year-old Brandy Miller, also died, while seven people required hospital treatment for non-life threatening injuries.

Police say the crowd may have panicked and rushed for the exits after unfounded reports of gunfire, leading to a “stampede”.

“As the concert was ending, concertgoers began running towards the exits after hearing what they described as gunshots,” says a letter to the venue signed by Rochester Police Investigation chief David Smith. “Your contracted event security guards were unable to control the crowd as they were running, which in turn caused a human stampede.”

The 6,500-cap Main Street Armory has had its licence suspended in the wake of the tragedy

The 6,500-cap Main Street Armory has had its licence suspended in the wake of the tragedy after the police investigation revealed “justifiable concerns regarding your ability to operate the premises”. “You have failed to maintain good order on the premises,” it adds.

The BBC reports the decision to revoke the licence made after the venue’s owner failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with the police chief and Rochester’s city attorney.

“It is one step we can immediately take to ensure that the events of Sunday night are not repeated,” says Smith. “The bottom line is, lives were lost, and we need to take steps to make sure that no lives are lost in the future if this was indeed something that was preventable.”

Police are looking at “possibly crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray and other contributing factors” as potential causes of the tragedy.

Posting on Twitter in the aftermath of the concert, GloRilla – real name Gloria Woods – said: “I am devastated and heartbroken over the tragic deaths that happened after Sunday’s show. My fans mean the world to me, praying for their families and for a speedy recovery of everyone affected.”


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