2 dead, 8 injured in crowd at GloRilla concert in New York

A second concert-goer who died after a wave of audience members at a packed hip-hop concert in Rochester, New York, has been identified.

Police on Tuesday identified the second victim as Brandy Miller, 35, of Rochester. Authorities said Monday that Rhondesia Belton, 33, of Buffalo, New York, died at a hospital.

A third concertgoer who suffered life-threatening injuries remained at a hospital in critical condition, the Rochester Police Department said in its update Tuesday. She was described as a 35-year-old woman.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Belton was a city employee who had been hired last year and worked in the city of Buffalo Traffic Violations Agency.

“She tragically lost her life yesterday while attending a concert in Rochester,” he said in one tweet shares a photo of Belton. “Her family, friends and colleagues are devastated and left to mourn this tragic loss. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Seven other people had non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Fans left GloRilla’s show at the Main Street Armory just after 1 p.m. 23 Sunday when they possibly heard gunshots, apparently causing panic, Rochester police said.

“The crowd began to surge and rush for the exits,” Police Chief David M. Smith said Monday.

Police said in a statement that no evidence of gunfire or other violence was found, but Smith said the allegations were under investigation. He said officials were also looking into the volume and the possibility that pepper spray may have triggered the spike.

Investigators hope concertgoers’ photos and video can help them determine what took place, police said.

Officers had to act outside because the crowds were still coming out, Smith said. They stayed there until “they were finally able to get inside,” he said at the news conference.

Once inside, they found three women “with significant injuries,” the police statement said.

“As the night progressed, seven more people arrived at local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries from the event,” police said.

The venue passed a fire inspection in December, NBC affiliate WHEC in Rochester reported Monday. Main Street Armory said on its website that it has a capacity of 5,000.

An organization listed as a promoter of the concert did not respond to requests for comment.

GloRilla, whose real name is Gloria Hallelujah Woods and whose 2022 song “FNF (Let’s Go)” featuring Hitkidd was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance, tweeted just before 12:15 a.m. Monday that she “just heard about, what happened .”

“Begging everyone is ok,” she said.

On Monday, she tweeted“I am heartbroken and devastated by the tragic deaths that happened after Sunday’s show. My fans mean the world to me.”

GloRilla was among a number of artists who performed at the recent Grammy Awards Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Tribute, which featured a star-studded lineup including Missy Elliott, Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Public Enemy, Nelly, Queen Latifah and Run-DMC

Sunday night’s incident is the latest fatal crowd surge at a concert in the U.S. In 2021, 10 people were killed in a massive crowd rush at a show by rapper Travis Scott.

Crowd expert Paul Wertheimer has said that incidents where people are killed or injured by the sheer collective force of concertgoers have a few elements in common: free-flowing festival grounds, a trigger such as gunshots or a countdown, poor planning and poor crowd flow management .

He said initial reports often label the events as stampedes, but they are almost always cases of people being crushed as they stand because too many people are not in enough space. Concertgoers collapse, he said, which he calls “crowd collapses.”

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