Cheer team remembers woman who died after being trampled at Rochester concert

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Friends describe Aisha Stephens, who died of her injuries after being trampled at the Main Street Armory, as a ray of sunshine.

The 35-year-old Syracuse woman died after days of hospitalization, following the stampede as people rushed to evacuate during a Rochester concert on Sunday. Rochester Police said Stephens died on Wednesday night.

Stephens, who some also knew as Aisha Haskins, went from being a cheerleader as a young girl to coaching her own team in Syracuse. For over ten years, she coached the Kirk Park Colts cheer team at Central New York PopWarner. The team consists of girls from sixth to eighth grade.

“I called one of my friends last night who just moved to Georgia and her daughter was on the Kirk Pop team and she just immediately cried,” said CNY Pop Warner President Susan Brawdy. “The kids just loved her. She was like a mom to all of them and a friend. She was a breath of fresh air for everything, a complete angel. the light of the kid’s eyes.”

The team Aisha helped coach went to the National Championships at Disney World in Florida in 2018.

Rhondesia Belton, 33 of Buffalo, and Brandy Miller, 35 of Rochester, also died from injuries they suffered during the concert. The stampede happened when artists GloRilla and Finesse2Tymes had finished performing and people thought they heard gunshots. Police didn’t find any evidence of gunfire but the sound triggered panic, with people rushing for the main door.

More about the deadly stampede at the Armory: