Singer Jake Owen had just wrapped up a performance at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas and was standing on the side of the stage nearby when a gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400. Owen has since spoken to NBC News about the terrible event.
“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 away from where Jason [Aldean] was on stage,” he said. “All of a sudden, you heard what sounded – like, ‘Was that gunfire?’ – and it got faster and faster, almost like it was an automatic rifle. You could hear it ringing off the rafters off the top of the stage. That’s when you saw people fleeing. At that point, everyone onstage just started running everywhere possible.
“I ran like everyone else,” he continued. “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.”
Owen was then asked how long the shooting carried on for, to which he responded, “without even exaggerating, I would say it had to be 10 minutes. I mean, it was chaos for seven to 10 minutes.” Owen thanked Las Vegas police and emergency responders for their handling of the situation.
“They did everything they could to get out here quickly as possible and take care of these people,” he said.
Owen said he was in Vegas for the festival and also to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
“We come out to these concerts because that’s what life’s about,” he said. “We live this life without being scared, but this is reality these days.”
Authorities have since identified the gunman as Nevada state resident Stephen Paddock, who opened fire on festival goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Sunday night. The 64-year-old reportedly took his own life as authorities prepared to enter his hotel room, according to Today. The incident is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.