Several concertgoers were injured when a packed show by rapper Lil Durk outside of Celebrity Theatre on Saturday night ended in chaos after a sound similar to gunshots caused people to flee.
The incident occurred around 10 p.m. during the Smurkchella concert in the central Phoenix venue’s parking lot where several thousand people were gathered. Durk and hip-hop artists Pooh Shiesty, Kalan.FrFr, and Coi Leray were performing on an outdoor stage at the time when the sound of gunfire was reported.
Phoenix police responded to the scene while people made a frantic mass exodus from the Celebrity Theatre’s parking lot after the sound was heard. Videos posted to social media following the incident show a chaotic scene.
Despite initial media reports that one female concertgoer was grazed in the leg by a bullet, Phoenix police say no one sustained any gunshot wounds. A few people received minor injuries like scrapes and cuts while leaving Smurkchella.
Phoenix police officials say they're still investigating the incident but no suspects have been identified as of this writing. An employee of Celebrity Theatre has stated that a dropped microphone may have caused the gunfire sound, according to ABC15.
Smurkchella boasted one of the largest crowds that's gathered for a performance in the Valley since the pandemic shut down touring concerts locally in March 2020. Depending on the source, there were upward of 7,000 people in attendance. (Videos of the concert on Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms show a massive sea of people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the crowd.)
Smurkchella promoters have claimed that 10,000 people were at the event while Celebrity Theatre says 3,700 tickets were officially sold. Attendees posted on social media that numerous people climbed over fencing and barriers to get into the concert and the event’s security staff was overwhelmed by the crowd.
Smurkchella’s promoters have denied that a shooting took place at the show, but admitted that bringing in such a large crowd might have been “a mistake.”
A statement posted to the concert’s official Instagram on Sunday read: “There was no shootings inside of @smurkchella ! Yes, some things did go unplanned ! It’s a concert, the first concert on the heels of a pandemic! We pushed for weeks to try to let as many people safely in as we could to experience this festival! Was that a mistake? In hindsight, maybe, but we wanted to do that for all you who wanted to be at Smurkchella, the people that matter the FANS! We tried to get more secruity, for weeks because we knew what was on the horizon! We were ensured prior that secruity was in place and would have everything under control so we could enjoy the show safe and responsible, but somethings were out of our control!”
A statement posted on Celebrity Theatre's social media on Sunday said the venue's staff wasn't "involved in the logistical coordination of the event whatsoever." It referred all complaints and refund requests to Smurkchella's promoters.