2 Women Dead in Crowd Surge ‘Panic’ at The Armory in Rochester: Police

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Two women were killed and another person was seriously injured in a crowd surge at a concert at The Armory venue on Main Street in Rochester, New York, on Sunday night, March 5, 2023, officials said at a press conference.

Seven other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. Reports of a possible stabbing or shooting along with a stampede spread on social media, but police say no one was shot or stabbed, the newspaper reports. Police have not released the names of the victims.

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.🙏🏽”

Rochester Police Chief David Smith said at the Monday morning press conference that the incident occurred about 11 p.m. after a concert featuring musicians GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes ended. “What began last night as a night of live music and fun for the performer GloRilla ended in tragedy with one person dead and two more fighting for their lives,” Smith said Monday morning. A second victim died later Monday, police said.

Smith said as concertgoers began heading to the exit, “The crowd began to surge and rush toward the exit. There were some reports that shots were heard causing the crowd to panic, but that has not been confirmed. Officers who were detailed outside the venue were eventually able to make there way inside, where they located three females with significant injuries.”

He added, “Our PD officers, security and EMS personnel provided life-saving measures on the three females before they were transported Strong Hospital. Sadly, one of the victims has passed away and two others are currently in critical condition fighting for their lives. As the night went on, an additional seven people arrived at local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries from the event.” Smith said those injuries were “caused by people being trampled.”

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said about GloRilla, “This is a popular artist. … And when you have a popular artist like that you’re going to have a large crowd. So the question will be, ‘Were the appropriate actions taken?’ Too early to say, but I will tell you that we have a history in my administration of holding venues accountable. And that will happen in this case once a thorough investigation is completed.”

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 🙏🏽”

According to the Main Street Armory’s website, the capacity of the venue is 5,000, with 650 seats in the balcony and space for 4,350 people in the general admissision floor area.

WHEC.com reported, “There is a large police presence at the Armory on East Main Street. The area is closed off. Our photographer on scene says people are swarming his car.”

13WHAM also reported, “There is a major police presence at the Armory on East Main Street. Parts of the area are closed off.” The station wrote that it was sending a news crew to the scene.

The reports broke out on social media around 11:39 p.m. on March 5, 2023. One person tweeted, “Has anyone heard exactly what happened at the armory? Heard something about 4 victims in the main entrance. RGH just got a walk stab wound. I’ve heard constant sirens. Sounds bad.” Police later said no one was stabbed.

Here’s what you need to know:

Rochester Police Chief David Smith Said There Is No Evidence of ‘Gunshots Being Fired or of Anyone Being Shot or Stabbed at the Scene’

Smith said at the press conference, “We do not have any evidence of gunshots being fired or of anyone being shot or stabbed at the scene. Investigators from patrol section investigations are currently assigned to this to investigate the incident to not only determine what happened, but to bring accountability to those who were culpable for last night’s tragedy.”

The police chief added, “We are hearing many reports of potential causes, including possibly crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray, and other contributing factors. Our investigators are interviewing surviving victims, other concertgoers, security and anyone else that has potential information as to what led to the tragedy last night.”

Smith said they are also working with the city fire marshal’s office to determine how many people were at the venue for the concert and whether it was over capacity. City code enforcement, the New York State Liquor Authority and the city’s corporation counsel are also taking part in the investigation to determine if the venue and others were in compliance with safety regulations.

Smith said they will hold “those who were not in compliance accountable for their actions.” He asked anyone with video or photos or information to “piece together what happened,” to contact police.

Evans added, “My heart, Rochester’s heart and the prayers go out to the victim that passed away last night and those who are fighting for their life. This is a tragedy of epic proportions and is something that all of us love concerts worry about.

The mayor said, “I am a big concert guy. Anyone that knows me well knows that I will go to concerts all around the country to see my favorite artists. And I will tell you that when you go to a concert, you do not expect to be trampled. Your loved ones expect you to be able to come home and talk about the experience that you had at that great concert. And what I saw last night in the aftermath of what happened at this concert breaks my heart and is totally unacceptable. I want to be clear, we are nowhere near completing this investigation.

Evans said, “This will require a lot of work, a lot of work from a lot of agencies throughout the city, not just the Rochester Police Department, but my corporation counsel out of the mayor’s office as well as he said, the fire chief. We are going to hold people accountable for what happened last night. Period. 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.

The mayor added, “Now, it’s too early to say what participated this as the chief said, but I intend to get to the bottom of this. Because we will see more concerts in Rochester, it’s what we deserve. We deserve to have good entertainment.”

A Local Journalist Was Told ‘at Least 3 Women Were Trampled’

“Major emergency response at the Main St. Armory after a concert,” news editor Alec Richardson tweeted. He is a photographer for Nextar Media Group, according to his LinkedIn page.

“Had witnesses telling me at least three women were trampled as concertgoers left the venue. I also saw a firefighter performing cpr presumably on a victim on scene,” he wrote.

A person tweeted, “this was by far the scariest night of my life I hope everyone is okay if you was at the armory.”

People Wrote on Twitter That People ‘Really Got Trampled Over’ & People Were ‘Screaming’ That They Couldn’t Breathe

“Ppl really got trampled over. Bodies wasn’t moving at all,” a woman tweeted.

Another woman tweeted, “I’m so emotional leaving this concert. Ppl were literally getting trampled, ppl screaming that they can’t breath. like I literally can’t believe my experience.”

A woman tweeted, “I have never been trampled before 😭 Rochester owe me a new leg.”

Another person tweeted, “D*** was it at the armory? That’s what I’ve been seein there’s been non stop sirens for the past 20 minutes.”

The Armory is a historic venue in Rochester. “The Armory’s first concert event was held on February 4, 2006, a sold out performance by O.A.R. More concerts followed later that year, as the refurbishment continued. The main arena was restored to accommodate an occupancy of 5,000 people,” its website says.

“In 1899 George L. Heins replaced Issac G. Perry as state architect; he held the office until 1907. Heins designed armories in the castellated/Richardsonian Romanesque style. During his tenure he designed numerous armories, but to date, seven are known to survive. Heins’ armories incorporate features of castle-like fortresses, including: soaring towers, crenellated parapets, massive sally ports, and iron portcullises. Hein’s armories; however, tend to reflect a more modern and stylized interpretation of medieval forms and details.”

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