A deadly crowd crush at the Sunday night concert of Memphis rapper GloRilla claimed the lives of two women, aged 33 and 35, in Rochester, N.Y. One other woman remained in critical condition on Monday, police said.
After reporting one woman had died earlier Monday, police confirmed later in the evening the death toll had climbed to two.
Police believe the stampede erupted over false fears that there was a shooter in the venue, sending concertgoers surging for the exits. In total, nine people were injured.
Rochester Police Lt. Nicholas Adams told ABC News that police responded to the scene of the stampede based on initial reports of gunshots. But when police arrived at Rochester’s Main Street Armory, the injuries they observed weren’t consistent with gunshot wounds.
“At this time, there is no evidence to support a shooting having occurred inside the event,” Adams wrote in a statement. “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.”
Police believe the crush began just after 11 p.m., after the concert featuring GloRilla and Finesse2tymes ended. Three women were found critically injured, and one — identified by police as 33-year-old Rhondesia Belton — later died in hospital.
Later on Monday, police confirmed a second, 35-year-old woman had also died of her injuries in hospital. Another 35-year-old woman remains in critical condition.
Seven additional people were taken to hospitals and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Smith said police are investigating several potential causes for the fatal surge, including “possibly crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray and other contributing factors.”
Late Sunday night, GloRilla tweeted that she had just learned about the incident at her concert.
“I’m just now hearing about what happened wtf,” GloRilla wrote on Twitter, about an hour after police initially responded to the scene. “Praying everybody is ok.”
A Twitter user who said she was at GloRilla’s Sunday night concert responded to her tweet, writing: “I don’t get what happened, I was in the middle of that crowd, but I didn’t hear any gunshots.”
She added that the crowd was walking out of the venue after GloRilla’s set “and then everyone started running outta no where it made no sense.”
Mayor Malik Evans called the fatal stampede “a tragedy of epic proportions” and promised a thorough investigation. “We are going to hold people accountable for what happened last night, period,” Evans said.
GloRilla, a Memphis native whose 2022 song F.N.F. (Let’s Go) with Hitkidd was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance, was among a number of artists to perform at the recent Grammy Awards Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Tribute, which featured Missy Elliott, Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Public Enemy, Nelly, Queen Latifah and Run-D.M.C.
Fatal crowd surges have been a recurring disaster at concerts and other large events in the U.S. and around the world, including a 2021 concert by rapper Travis Scott in which 10 people died.
— With files from The Associated Press