Country music singer Jason Aldean is urging Americans to “come together and stop the hate” following a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas that occurred during his set at the Route 91 Harvest festival Sunday night.
Saying the past 24 hours had left him scared, angry and heartbroken, the singer took to Instagram to add that he truly believes the country has seen a recent change for the worse.
“This word is becoming the kind of place I am afraid to raise my children in,” said the father of two daughters, Keeley and Kendyl Williams, ages 13 and 8, respectively. “At the end of the day, we aren’t Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and it's time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE!”
The post came one day after Aldean’s initial response to the shooting early Monday morning, a brief statement that let fans know he was safe.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean wrote alongside a photo of the Las Vegas Strip that read “Pray for Las Vegas.” “I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe.”
A gunman, identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Nevada, opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel down onto the crowd of festivalgoers around 10 p.m. local time Sunday, officials said. The shooting injured more than 500 people and killed at least 59 who were attending the sold-out, three-day concert at the Las Vegas Village, an outdoor area across the Strip from the Mandalay Bay hotel. Officials said Paddock shot himself dead at the scene and that a motive is still unknown.
The death toll makes the incident the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, following the 2016 shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub that left 49 people dead.
Aldean was performing when the rapid gunfire broke out. Video from the scene showed him singing when the gunman opened fire. He was reportedly rushed off the stage shortly afterward. According to the event lineup, Aldean was scheduled to go on at 9:40 p.m., the final act of the evening.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight,” Aldean said in his initial comments. “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”
Aldean, who released his latest album “They Don’t Know” in 2016, is best known for his country hits “My Kinda Party” and “She’s Country.” He was headlining the festival along with singers Sam Hunt and Eric Church.
Hunt posted a Bible verse Psalm 91 on Instagram Monday and Church has not yet commented via social media.