Country star Jason Aldean was the featured act onstage at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas Sunday night when 22,000 screaming fans came under fire from a sniper in the upper rooms of the Mandalay Bay resort across the street. It was an unthinkable scenario and one that has the artist scared for his family.
In the hours after the tragedy, Aldean posted a “Pray for Las Vegas” message on Instagram:
Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. 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. #heartbroken #stopthehate
After having some more time to reflect, Aldean expressed a deeper concern that “something has changed in this country” and that the world has become the kind of place in which he’s “afraid to raise” his children:
Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Scared, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont understand why a person would want to take the life of another. Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in. At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. My heart aches for the Victims and their families of this Senseless act. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain everyone is feeling right now and there are no words i can say to to take that pain away. Just know u all are in my heart and my prayers as we all go through this together. Time to come together and stop the hate!
In the video below, posted by USA Today, a Facebook Live shot from an attendee shows that several rounds were fired (at the 3 second mark) at the end of one song before Aldean started another to the barrage of bullets that sent him running off stage:
Aldean has two young daughters from his first marriage to his high school sweetheart.