What was supposed to be a fun night of country music on the Las Vegas strip turned into a living nightmare when a gunman started shooting into the crowd at the Route 91 festival from a nearby hotel. For the first time since the tragedy, Jason Aldean, who was performing at the time, returned with his pregnant wife Brittany to visit survivors.
In a post on Instagram, Brittany wrote, “Feels surreal being back in Vegas today. Visiting some of the strongest people we have ever met… fighting the toughest battle of them all… for their lives. You have helped us try to begin to start the healing process by seeing the strength each one of you have. Thank you for today. We will never forget. #vegasstrong.” The couple reportedly visited patients at nearby hospitals. Their visit also comes one day after his surprise performance on Saturday Night Live.
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Feels surreal being back in Vegas today. Visiting some of the strongest people we have ever met… fighting the toughest battle of them all… for their lives. You have helped us try to begin the healing process by seeing the strength each one of you have. Thank you for today. We will never forget. #vegasstrong 🙌🏼
“This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone I am struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting,” he said on SNL before performing Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” “There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friend. They are all part of our family. So I want to say to them: We hurt for you and we hurt with you. You can be sure we are going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way.”
The Grammy-nominated country artist was performing at the time the shooter started taking aim at the crowd of 22,000 people, and terrifying footage from the massacre shows the 40-year-old running off stage as bullets flew around him. In video obtained by Fox News, Jason continues to play as pops are heard in the audience. It’s been reported that many attendees thought the shots were fireworks at first.
The soon-to-be father-of-three is then seen darting from the stage as panic ensues. A source tells Us Weekly, “Jason’s band and crew hid behind the equipment once they realized what was happening. The band’s bus was also in line of fire and has bullet holes.”
According to multiple news outlets, at least 59 people are dead and more than 500 are injured following the attack. The shooter was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who allegedly fired hundreds of rounds from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort using an automatic weapon. Police said he was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot. More than 23 firearms were discovered in his possession.
Celebrities with residencies in Vegas such as Celine Dion and The Backstreet Boys offered their condolences following the horrific events. “Praying for all the innocent victims and their families in Las Vegas,” Celine wrote, while BSB’s official Twitter account tweeted, “In shock. Thankful our team is safe. The Vegas community and all affected need more than thoughts and prayer, but it’s a start.” See what Jason had to say in the video below: