Country music singer Jake Owen, who had just taken the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas as a gunman opened fire, said everybody was scared amid the chaos.
“It literally was like a movie you’ve seen before that’s not real life,” he told “Today.” “We live this life of not being scared, which I think is great, but this is reality these days. This stuff’s really happening. We were all scared.”
Owen said he had just taken the stage with Luke Combs and other performers, who he described as his friends, and was just 50 feet away from headliner Jason Aldean when he first heard the gunshots.
“It got faster and faster, almost like it sounded like it was an automatic rifle. You could hear it ringing off the tops of the rafters of the stage,” he said. “That’s when you saw people fleeing. At that point, everyone on stage just started running everywhere possible. It was pretty chaotic for sure.”
Owen said that he ran in the opposite direction of his tour bus and instead ended up behind a police car taking cover.
“I just kind of ran like everyone else. At one point, I was crouched down behind a cop car with about 20 other people, that were people who had just come to the show,” Owen said. “Everyone’s asking if everyone’s okay. There was blood on people. You can see a couple of folks in the street that looked like they had been shot, lying there.”
Owen did eventually make it back to his tour bus, but he said the gunshots continued.
“It wasn’t something that just was quick,” he said. “It was chaos for a pure 7-10 minutes.”
According to a video posted late Monday morning, Owen was still on his bus across from the stage. He described getting back to his bus and having to climb over a fence. He said it was the “most horrific thing” he’s every experienced in his life.
More than 50 people were killed and at least 400 injured when a shooter, identified as a 64-year-old man named Stephen Craig Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, fired round after round from a high-rise room at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino down onto a crowded country-music concert. He was found dead on the 32nd floor of the hotel with a cache of “in excess of 10 rifles,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.
Watch Owen’s full interview with “Today” above.