Country singer Jake Owen shared his firsthand account of the deadly mass shooting that occurred at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, when a gunman fired at a sea of thousands of people at the open-air concert where Owens was one of the performers.
“I thought it was perhaps the pyrotechnics,” Owen said in an interview. “We were in the middle of it when the shots started being fired and you could hear it ricocheting off the top of the roof of the stage,” the singer said. “We started just running in any direction we could because you didn’t know where it was coming from, if someone was on the ground—you didn’t know where it was coming from.”
“Standing there, you could hear the bullets starting to hit the roof of the stage and people started fleeing everywhere,” said the country singer, who performed at the festival before headliner Jason Aldean. “You could hear people screaming. It sounded like gunshots were coming from all around us, and this is before any of us knew that it was coming from above.”
The gunman, identified as Stepehn Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd of 30,000 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, according to reports form law enforcement. At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured, making the attack the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“I keep saying it was like a bad movie that you’ve seen before but never thought it would be real life,” Owen continued. “Jason [Aldean] turned around and started running back toward his drum riser to get out of the way once he realized that gunshots were being fired. The crowd started running. It was a bad scene. There were people literally being shot. You could see blood everywhere. It was something that I wouldn’t ever want to see again or wish upon anyone else to see.”
“I think it’s important for us in a simple way we can say it to those out there that come to these shows every weekend and every week and they bring their families—to not be scared of this. We’re still going to get out there and do this. This is so unfortunate that these things like this have to happen in order for us to really see that this kind of thing is real,” said Owens.