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Family of Buffalo woman killed in concert stampede speaks out

A fundraising effort is underway for funeral expenses for Rhondesia Belton, 33, and for the continued care of the small son, she leaves behind.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A GoFundMe account has been set up by the mother of a woman who died of injuries sustained in a stampede during a concert in Rochester on March 5.

The money raised will be used to pay for funeral expenses for Rhondesia Belton, 33, and to provide for the care of her young son Rhian.

Belton was one of three people who died following the GloRilla concert held that fateful Sunday night at the Main Street Armory.

According to police, concertgoers rushed to the doors after hearing what many thoughts were gunshots, although the investigation thus far has yielded no evidence that shots were fired.

During a crush toward the exits, Belton and the two other victims were trampled.

Panicked Exit

"It was like a wave of people just pushing... but it was so close and so tight that anyway, the wave went, that's the way you went," said Ronisha Houston, Belton's sister, who accompanied her to the concert.

She also recalled becoming separated from her sister as they were trying to make their way out.

"She was no longer holding onto me and I looked to the left, and then I looked back and she was far back," Houston said.

After her way out of the venue, Houston says she fought her way back through the crowd and inside the venue, where she found her sister and attempted to administer CPR.

"I pulled my sister from out of this pile (of people) that she was in and I did CPR on her for as long as I could until the paramedics came in...they pushed everybody aside and threw me out and I guess they tried to work on her," Houston said.

 A Loss for a Family and a Community

 Buffalo mayor Byron Brown said last week that Belton was a new worker in the city's traffic violations office, adding that her co-workers were devastated when they learned of her sudden death.

Belton's mother, Rhonda Vick, says she has heard from many of her daughter's co-workers offering their condolences.

"They have been calling me and saying how great a person she was, and how they loved her," she said.

"She was the type of lady that would do anything for you. She would give you the shirt off her back," said a shaken Anthony Vick, Belton's stepfather, as he wiped a tear from his eye. 

Amid their grief, family members hope that investigators do their job thoroughly.

"We want to make sure that the codes that were supposed to have been followed were followed," said Mr. Vick.  "We want to make sure security was sufficient for the amount of people that were there, and that doors were  open to allow everybody who was in there to get out."

Moreover, the family of Rhondesia Belton says it wants to make sure such future tragedies are avoided and that no other families experience the grief that they are now feeling.


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