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31 Arrested at Shuttered Electric Zoo Party on Randall's Island, Cops Say

By Irene Plagianos | September 2, 2013 12:42pm
 The annual three-day music festival on Randall's Island was canceled a day early, on Sunday, after two young concert-goers died from what authorities believe are drug-related causes.
Electric Zoo Plagued by Deaths, Drugs, Sexual Assault Claims
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RANDALL'S ISLAND — The popular Randall’s Island dance party that was closed on Sunday after two concert-goers died of drug-related causes was plagued with drug sales, rowdy behavior and a claim by a 16-year-old girl that she was sexually assaulted, police said.

Cops said they made 31 arrests at the Electric Zoo music festival for crimes including the sale and possession of drugs as well as disorderly conduct, before the three-day event was shut down by the city on Sunday — a day ahead of schedule.

Electric Zoo said on its twitter feed late Sunday night that participants would get a refund for Sunday portion of the festival.

Police said a 16-year-old girl told officers she woke up under a van, with her pants unzipped, on Friday night at about 11 p.m. According to cops, she said she had several visible bruises and scratches. She told officers that she had had several drinks.

The annual three-day electronic music festival was shut down Sunday after Jeffrey Russ, 23, and Olivia Rotondo, 21, died Saturday, both from drug overdoses, according to police.

MDMA consumption, also known as Molly or ecstasy, appeared to be linked to the two deaths, the statement said. A medical examiner's report determining exact cause of death was inconclusive, a spokeswoman said on Sunday, pending further toxicology reports and tissue studies.

Russ, a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University, had gone to the festival with 23 of his former fraternity brothers, his father, John Russ, told The New York Times, from his home in Rochester, NY.

"He was a good son," Russ's father told the Times.

Rotondo was an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire, studying communications, according to her Facebook page.

“She was the nicest girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,”  Noah Burkholz, a friend who had traveled to the festival with her, told The New York Times.

Four other concert-goers were admitted to the ICU at Metropolitan Hospital, for reasons yet to be determined, before officials said that "the safest course is to cancel the remaining day of the event," according to the statement.

Electric Zoo has been running for five years, and this year featured shows on five different stages at the island. Sunday's lineup included Dutch trance artist Armin Van Buuren and American house DJ Steve Aoki.