Artists Describe ‘Beyond Horrific' Shooting at Vegas Country Music Festival

"It was literally like a movie you feel like you’ve seen before that's not real life," singer Jake Owen said

What to Know

  • At least 58 people were killed and more than 400 sent to hospitals in what cops describe as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history
  • The gunman has been identified as Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada; he was found dead in his 32nd floor room in the Mandalay Bay hotel
  • Tens of thousands ran for their lives, screaming, as gunfire erupted; it was believed to have been a "lone wolf" attack, authorities said

After a gunman opened fire on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 59 people and wounding 527 others, performers at the event described the "chaotic" and "heartbreaking" scene.

Bullets rained down as Jason Aldean sang onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, forcing performers and concertgoers to flee the area.

Aldean later posted on Instagram that he and his team were safe after the shooting he called "beyond horrific."

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region," Vice President Mike Pence said.

Singer Jake Owen was also onstage during the shooting, and he told NBC News it felt "like a movie."

"You could hear it ringing off the rafters of the stage," he said. "Everyone onstage started running anywhere possible. It was pretty chaotic for sure."

"I ran just like everyone else," Owen added. "There was blood on people. ... It was literally like a movie you feel like you’ve seen before that's not real life... It was pretty chaotic for a pure seven to 10 minutes."

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Musician Chris Young was at the festival and said on Twitter that he stayed "on the floor of a trailer behind the stage," calling the shooting "heartbreaking."

Caleb Keeter, guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, said on Twitter that witnessing the shooting had changed his pro-Second Amendment stance. 

"I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life," he wrote. "Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us.”

Other artists reacted to the shooting as well.

Authorities said the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, of nearby Mesquite, is dead. The investigation is ongoing.

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