Country singer Jason Aldean spoke out against violence and called for Americans to come together a day after a gunman opened fire on the crowd during his performance at a Las Vegas music festival.
The artist, 40, released a thorough second statement late Monday night expressing his devastation after at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 others were injured in the attack at the Route 91 Harvest in what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
“Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions,” Aldean began in the statement, which he published on Instagram. “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,” he continued. “This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in.”
The gunfire began Sunday night while Aldean was onstage performing his hit “When She Says Baby” to a crowd of over 22,000 people. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, carried out the horrific attack from a 32nd-floor hotel room at the nearby Mandalay Bay.
Aldean and the massive audience were left scrambling for their lives amid the chaos at the festival, which was located on the Las Vegas Strip. The singer confirmed he was OK and shared his heartbreak in a short Instagram post several hours after the shooting, but went into further detail in Monday night’s statement.
In that second Instagram post, he wrote that it’s time for everyone to embrace each other as human beings and come 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,” Aldean wrote. “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,” he concluded. “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!”
The gunman at the center of the tragedy shot and killed himself before police arrived to his hotel room, officials said.
Aldean was the final performer of the three-day Route 91 Harvest festival. He took the stage after Jake Owen, who stuck around for Aldean’s performance was also forced to flee the area amid the attack.
Mass shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
Late Monday, he announced that he was cancelling his shows over the weekend.
“I feel like out of respect for the victims, their families and our fans, it is the right thing to do. It was been an emotional time for everyone involved this week, so we plan to take some time to mourn the ones we have lost and be close with our family and friends,” Aldean said in a statement, saying the tour will pick back up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Oct. 12.
“Our first time back onstage will be a very tough and emotional thing for us, but we will all get through it together and honor the people we lost by doing the only thing we know how to do – play our songs for them.”