One year later: Remembering the victims of the Main Street Armory stampede

One year after the Main Street Armory stampede in which 3 died

One year after the Main Street Armory stampede in which 3 died

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — One year ago March 5, nearly 4,000 people were stuck in a crowd surge, trying to leave a concert at the Main Street Armory. Three of them died.

The family of those three victims, and other people who were injured, are included in civil suits against the organizers.

The surge started because people thought they heard gunshots, but police later identified the sound as confetti poppers.

Brandy Miller was a certified nursing assistant from Rochester. on March 5, 2023, she was trampled to death, alongside Syracuse native Aisha Haskins and Buffalo resident Rhondesia Belton.

Brandy’s sister Michelle Miller says she’s still seeking closure.

Michelle remembers her sister as someone full of love. “She loved to party, she loved to laugh, she loved to hang out with friends, she loved music, her nieces her nephews, her brother, her sister. She just was fun,” she said.

On March 5, 2023, Brandy went to a GloRilla concert at the Main Street Armory. As people frantically tried to leave, she and dozens of others were stepped on over and over again. She died the next day.

“I haven’t begun the healing journey. I don’t think there’s a timeline for a relationship that was built on 35 years,” Michelle said.

Brandy helped people for a living as a certified nursing assistant, and she continued to help them in death by donating her organs. Michelle took a video of doctors and nurses lining the hall in appreciation as they wheeled Brandy’s body out. Michelle said Brandy saved four lives through her donation.

‚Äč”It went viral and the world knew Brandy’s story — so my mission is to have people remember her as Brandy and not just the victim of the Armory stampede,” Michelle said.

Michelle told News10NBC she thought the crowd surge was preventable — and she’s not the only one.

Paul Wertheimer, a crowd control expert, says there are specific standards for standing-room-only venues like the Armory.

“I’m not aware that that standard was in place that night — there certainly hasn’t been any mention of it, or that the security people were trained properly. But the city somehow found no criminal action worth taking,” Wertheimer said.

Police body camera footage shows some doors were locked.

The Miller family is trying to hold organizers accountable through civil litigation. So are many of the victims and their families.

Michelle says while this won’t bring Brandy back, they want to prevent it from ever happening again.

“It’s just a lot of conflicting information, and we just want to know what happened. That’s all. We just want to know what happened to Brandy and Rhondesia and Aisha,” she said.

Three weeks after the crowd surge, Armory owner Scott Donaldson sold the venue. It hasn’t held an event since. News10NBC called Donaldson, but his line was disconnected.

New owner John Trickey said he’s been working with the fire marshal to fix doors and other safety concerns. If all goes well, the Armory could be holding events again by the summer.