By Robyn Collins
Country singer Jake Owen performed at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival last night (Oct 1) in Las Vegas right before Jason Aldean took the stage. During Aldean’s set, a gunman opened fire, killing at least 50 and injuring over 400, and Owen was there watching his friend perform.
“I was on the stage. I had just walked up on the stage with a couple friends of mine, including Luke Combs, another artist who had played earlier, and we were literally standing 50 feet from where Jason was on stage, and all of a sudden, you heard what sounded – it was kind of a thing where you were like, ‘Was that gunfire?’ – and it got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle,” Owen said in a call this morning to the Today Show.
“You could hear it ringing off the rafters off the top of the stage,” he continued. “That’s when you saw people fleeing. At that point, everyone onstage just started running everywhere possible. And it was pretty chaotic, for sure.”
The country star couldn’t get to his bus, so he looked for the nearest cover. “I kind of just ran like everyone else,” he said. “At one point, I was crouched down behind a cop car with about 20 other people that had come to the show, and everyone’s asking if everyone’s okay. There’s blood on people, and you could see a couple folks on the street that looked like they’d been shot lying there. It was chaotic. It was literally like a movie that you feel like you’ve seen before that’s not real life.”
The country singer stressed how frightening the situation was. “We tend to – we live this life of not being scared, which I think is great, but you know, this is reality these days. This stuff’s really happening. We were all scared.”
And Owen expressed gratitude to the police who reacted to the shooting scene and risked their lives. “I do think – I think it’s important to say, too – the Las Vegas Police Department, the responders, you could tell they did everything they could to get out here as quickly as they could to take care of these people, and I think they really, definitely, need a shout-out, as well.”
Las Vegas Metro PD has set up a hotline to assist with anyone searching for missing family and friends. That number is 866-535-5654.
The Vegas police also advise those wishing to donate blood to visit the Labor Health & Welfare Clinic, 7135 W. Sahara Las Vegas, NV 89117.