City officials investigate events at the Armory; Were rules followed?

[anvplayer video=”5166196″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Police Department, code enforcement, fire marshal, and city hall are working together to investigate what happened at the Main Street Armory and whether rules put in place to protect concertgoers were followed. 

It’s really an all-hands-on-deck approach. We know that on Monday afternoon the city met with the owner of the Armory, who agreed to cancel the concert scheduled for this Saturday. And they say they will meet with him again later this week, once they have more details on what happened here, to discuss the path forward for the Armory. 

The Armory was clearly expecting a big crowd last night because it arranged and paid for eight uniformed police officers to be stationed outside, but when the crowd surged, those officers couldn’t get inside right away.

Our crew was on the scene within minutes, and a man that just made it out the door said, “There was just a lot of running, you know, and people got hurt.  A lot of people got hurt. I [saw] people on the ground, like hurt badly.”

The Armory’s capacity is 5,000 people.

“Everybody panicked because there [were] just too many people in one place and the rush, I just [saw] people falling, it was sad,” he said.

Some people said they thought they heard gunshots, but police say they found no evidence of a shooting or stabbing. 

Rochester Police Department Chief David Smith said, “We are hearing many reports of potential causes, including possibly crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray, and other continuing factors. Investigators are still working to piece it all together.” 

“This is a tragedy of epic proportions and it’s something that all of us who love concerts worry about,” said Mayor Malik Evans.

The Main Street Armory was last inspected in December and, according to the city, met all fire codes. Whether it was over its 5,000-person capacity last night remains to be seen. 

“We are going to hold people accountable for what happened last night, period,” Mayor Evans said. “When you put on a concert in this city or anywhere around the county, you have to make sure that all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Now, it’s too early to say what precipitated this as the chief said, but I intend to get to the bottom of this.”

We tried to reach the owner of the Armory several different ways today, but we did not hear back. People who were at Sunday night’s concert were showing up at the Armory all day trying to retrieve personal belongings that they lost, but the doors were locked, and no one was answering.           

I should also mention that I asked the city directly whether the fire marshal does spot checks to ensure venues are abiding by capacity limits. I have not yet received an answer.