Country Music Fans Sang 'God Bless America' in Unifying Gesture, an Hour Before Massacre
It was a moment of solidarity and pride Sunday night as 22,000 country music fans held their cell phones in the air with the flashlights turned on, singing “God Bless America.”
They had no way of knowing that in just 60 minutes, their lives would change forever.
The singing was led by John Rich of the country duo Big & Rich.
"There is no politics, there is no religion, there is no race, it is just Americans singing a song about their country," Rich told Inside Edition. "Then you go a few minutes later and it is the worst carnage we have ever seen. It is really hard to get your mind to wrap around how it could go from one extreme to another that quickly."
The Route 91 Harvest festival began its final day at 2 p.m. Sunday. Photos and videos posted to social media show everyone having a great time during the day as 10 different acts entertained the crowd.
The final act of the day and the four-day festival was country superstar Jason Aldean who took the stage at 9:40 p.m.
Taylor Winston, a 29-year-old Marine, and his girlfriend Jen Lewis were dancing during Aldean's set.
Nearly a half hour into his set, Aldean launched into his hit song, "When She Says Baby.” He had just started the first verse when all hell broke loose.
"People were getting hit 2-3 feet away from us and as we were running and looking back, people were falling down," he said. "It was like shooting fish in the barrel."
Winston, the veteran of two tours in Iraq, kicked into hero mode, and was dragging wounded concertgoers across a barricade where he commandeered a truck.
By some miracle, the keys were in the vehicle and they were able to get away. He said they transported "about 20 to 30 people to the hospital" in multiple trips in the truck.