Country musician Jake Owen, who performed at the Las Vegas music festival where a mass shooting left at least 50 people dead and 400 injured on Sunday evening, said there was “chaos for a pure seven to 10 minutes.”
On Monday morning, Owen called into NBC’s TODAY show and described what happened on the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Owen performed right before Jason Aldean and was standing on the side of the stage with a couple friends when the gunman opened fire.
“We were literally standing 50 feet from where Jason was on stage, and all of a sudden, you heard what sounded — you know, it was kind of a thing where you were like, ‘Is that gunfire?’ And it just got faster and faster, almost it was an automatic rifle,” Owen told the TODAY hosts. “You could hear it ringing off the top of the rafters of the stage. That’s when you saw people fleeing. At that point, people on stage just started running everywhere possible. And it was pretty chaotic, for sure.”
Once the shooting started happening, Owen ran like everyone else. He said he would’ve sought shelter on his tour bus, but it was on the opposite side of the stage. At one point, Owen found himself crouched down behind a cop car with 20 other attendees.
“There’s blood on people and you could see a couple folks in the streets that looked like they had 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,” said Owen, who estimates the attack went on for about 10 minutes. “It went on for a good four or five minutes before I got back, luckily, to a bus that was safe in a crew parking lot. … Once I got on the bus, we were hiding on the bus because you could still hear gunfire outside. It wasn’t something that was just quick. It was chaos for a pure seven to 10 minutes.”
Aldean, who was performing at the time of the shooting, described the scene as “beyond horrific” in an Instagram post early Monday morning.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe,” Aldean wrote on Instagram. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”