Ten people were injured late Monday when a massive crowd of fans who had waited hours to see the rapper Phora rushed to surround the singer during an appearance at a Hollywood shoe store, authorities said.
More than 1,000 people packed the sidewalk and street outside the Shoe Palace at the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex on Monday night where Phora, an Anaheim-raised artist who released a new album last week, was hosting a free meet-and-greet. A flier for the event posted on Phora’s Facebook page Sunday indicated he was giving away free shoes.
A security guard told reporters at the scene that people had been lined up since the early morning waiting to meet the rapper, who was expected to be at the store from 7 to 9 p.m.
When the event ended and Phora came outside, he was met by hundreds of fans. He climbed on top of a car and continued to greet fans. Attendees told reporters at the scene that some people hyperventilated and fainted in the crowd, and others were injured when the group began pushing to get closer to the 24-year-old rapper.
“Everybody just kept pushing us when he was on top of the car,” attendee Cristy Martinez told reporters at the scene. “As you can see people stepped on my shoes. I didn’t even get to go in there.”
Overwhelmed by the large crowd, which was spilling onto Highland Avenue, event security called police about 8:45 p.m., Los Angeles police Officer Mike Lopez said.
Ambulances were called to treat injured people and officers cleared the street, Lopez said.
Phora, whose real name is Marco Anthony Archer, apologized for not being able to meet everyone and asked the crowd to leave after police arrived.
“I want you guys to go home and be safe and have a good night,” he told the crowd. “I’m asking y’all to please go home so no one gets in trouble.”
Phora wrote on Facebook following the incident that more than 6,000 people showed up.
“The love tonight was real,” he wrote. He wrote on Instagram after the event that because there were “so many people complaining” he wouldn’t be doing any additional meet-and-greets anytime soon.
“I just wanted to do something nice for the people who support me,” he wrote. “We bought hundreds of shoes, but yet again this was turned into something negative.”
Eight people — including teenagers and young adults — were taken to hospitals, while two others were evaluated at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Their injuries appeared to be related to an “outdoor crowd surge” and were not life-threatening, the Fire Department said.
Lopez said he’s not sure whether a stampede had occurred before officers arrived but “that was not the observation at the scene upon our arrival.” No one was arrested.
A man who answered the phone at the Shoe Palace on Monday night would not confirm whether it was hosting the artist for the promotional event.
“Everything that happened happened outside,” he said. He would not elaborate and then hung up on a reporter.