Country singer Jake Owen was standing on the stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Concert on Sunday night, when a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concert goers.
The horrific incident became the worst mass shooting incident in U.S. history with more than 50 confirmed fatalities and 200 victims injured.
Owen, 36, who was standing nearby as fellow country singer Jason Aldean was finishing his set, fled from the stage when the gunfire began.
“I’m just absolutely blown away,” Owen told CBS News hours after the attack. “We were in the middle of it. When the shots started being fired, and you could hear it ricocheting off the top of the roof of the stage, we started just running in any direction we could, because you didn’t know where it was coming from. You didn’t know if someone was on the ground, you didn’t know where it was coming from.”
“[We] have the luxury of living in a country where we’re free & safe...I don't think we ever truly expect something like this,” Owen says pic.twitter.com/FxsF1Mm62A
The “American Country Love Song” singer recounted sitting behind a car with around 20 other people, hiding from the bullets.
“Just the fear in everyone’s eyes but yet the feeling of everyone looking for someone to make sure they’re ok, I’ve just never experienced anything like this before,” he said. “I never thought it would be something that would be at a country music concert, something that we do day in day out, every weekend. There’s families out there. There’s kids on their parent’s shoulders. And that’s not what America’s supposed to be like.”
Owen also noted Americans are given the “luxury” of feeling safe thanks to the service men and women who protect their citizens daily.
“So I don’t think we ever truly expect something like this to happen,” he added.
“I ran off stage when he was firing shots...we all laid down inside the tour bus and you could still hear him firing shots,” Jake Owen says pic.twitter.com/x2NMLKGgjK
He also noted that as a performer, he plans to continue entertaining fans for years to come.
“I think it’s our duty as entertainers out here in the world to stand up for this sort of thing,” he continued. “They can’t keep us down. We’re not going to live in fear, not going to continue to do this, because I think part of being entertainers is bringing happiness to people.”
Owen, who is dad to his 4-year-old daughter, Pearl, noted that he’s grateful he gets to go home to her.
"My plans are to go home and kiss my little girl and thank God that I'm able to do that," Singer Jake Owen, who witnessed the shooting, says pic.twitter.com/HckDm3DYFE
“My plans are to go home and kiss my little girl and thank God that I’m able to do that,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that had little girls or family members that aren’t able to do that. I think also what I’m going to do is what I always do. I think I’m just going to get back out here on the road and try to make people smile and try to make them sing along. We as Americans are going to continue to stand up for ourselves and continue to fight along in the fight against this type of sad, ignorant things that are happening. I think it’s my duty to just not sit back and stand up and just make sure that we continue to live this beautiful free life that we’ve been given by the men and women that fight for us.”
Aldean also shared a message with fans on Instagram following the incident, confirming that he and his team were safe.