‘Losing her is taking a toll on me… How did this happen?’: Buffalo woman speaks out after best friend is killed during stampede at a Rochester concert

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – City of Buffalo employee Rhondesia Belton is being remembered as “having a tremendous attitude and was called a breath of fresh air.”

The 33 year-old was killed Sunday night after being trampled during a concert in Rochester.

News 4 caught up with Belton’s childhood best friend Danielle Gallon, who is still trying to process a life without her best friend right by her side.

“Losing her is taking a toll on me, she was a part of my everyday life,” Gallon said.

Gallon’s friendship with Belton began when they were both nine years-old. Gallon says Belton was a supportive friend, an amazing mom to a three year-old boy and everyone who knew her is devastated.

“Our birthday is a week apart.. She really is like everything to me,” Gallon said. “So to live without her is going to be hard for me. It just is.”

Buffalo woman killed, 9 injured after trampling at Rochester concert

Gallon almost went with her best friend to a concert in Rochester Sunday night to see hip-hop artist Glorilla at the Main Street Armory.

“She was, like ‘best friend, I’ll buy your ticket. We gonna go, it’s my sister’s birthday. We gonna go out and have a good time with her.’ I just had a baby so she’s like you need to get out, I need to get out, let’s have fun together,” Gallon said.

Gallon didn’t end up going, and what happened at that event has changed her life completely.
Her best friend, of almost 24 years, was killed during a stampede at the concert.

“Just a lot of emotions, very very sad about losing her,” she said. “Just wish it never happened. How did this happen?”

Belton worked for the city of Buffalo’s Traffic Violations Agency. Mayor Byron Brown spoke on her death Tuesday afternoon saying her supervisor and coworkers are heartbroken.

“When you go to a concert to enjoy a night out to enjoy some music, you expect to go, have a good time and come back home,” he said.

Brown says he’s been in contact with the mayor of Rochester who assures him the investigation will be thorough.

“When you put on concert. In this city or anywhere around the country, You have to make sure that all I’s are dotted and all T’s are crossed,” Rochester mayor Malik Evans said during a news conference Monday. “I intend to get to the bottom of this.”

Multiple agencies are investigating what happened at the venue, including Rochester police, the Rochester fire department and the city’s code enforcement.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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