Singer Jake Owen had just finished performing and was standing on the side of the stage watching Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas when a gunman with an automatic weapon began firing at the crowd, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400. He spoke with NBC News just hours after the horrific event happened.
“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 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.”
Asked to approximate how long the shooting went on, “without even exaggerating, I would say it had to be 10 minutes,” he said. “I mean, it was chaos for seven to 10 minutes.” He credited the Las Vegas police and emergency responders for their quick response.
“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.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 2, 2017