Josh Abbott Band guitarist calls for stricter gun laws "right now"
A guitarist who performed at the Las Vegas festival before last night’s shooting has issued a statement in support of stricter gun laws.
At least 58 people have been killed and more than 500 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas last night (October 1). Hundreds of shots were reportedly fired over several minutes, causing festival goers to immediately flee the Route 91 Harvest Festival at around 22.30 (05.30 GMT).
The gunman, who has been named as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, with eyewitnesses reportedly seeing gun flashes before police stormed the building. Police have confirmed Paddock’s death, and that he was a resident from the Las Vegas area.
Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for Josh Abbott Band, one of the acts that performed at Route 91 Harvest Festival, has now issued a statement, saying that “enough is enough” and calling for gun control “right now”.
“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night,” Keeter wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.”
“They were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.”
“Enough is enough,” he added. “Writing my parents and the love of my life as a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realise that this is completely and totally out of hand. These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in a close proximity of a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds.”
“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW,” he went on to write. “My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realise it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.”
See Keeter’s statement in full below.
The shooting occurred during a set by the popular US country singer Jason Aldean, who immediately left the stage after the incident. Aldean has since taken to Twitter to urge his fans to “pray” for the victims.
Eyewitness Bryan Heifner told CNN how he witnessed the incident from his hotel window, situated directly opposite the Mandalay Bay resort. “Mostly I heard the shots, just so many shots — I just thought it was a semi braking with the air brakes, but then I went downstairs and saw people running and looking for family,” he said. “I immediately went back to my room, locked the door, turned the lights off.”