The biggest names in country music have shared their heartbroken reactions to the Las Vegas shooting that killed at least 50 people and injured at least 200 in what is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“My deepest sympathies and prayers to anyone has been affected by the Vegas shooting last night,” The Voice coach said. “I don’t even know anymore… Why?”
Luke Bryan also shared his heartache, writing on Twitter, “Words can’t begin explain my sadness. My family and I are praying for the victims of this tragedy. Truly heartbroken.”
Bryan’s wife Caroline, and Shelton’s girlfriend Gwen Stefani also shared their condolences. “Beyond horrible. So many prayers and thoughts go to the victims, survivors, and those not accounted for yet,” Caroline wrote. “So tragic. Luke, myself, and his whole organization are heartbroken.”
Jason Aldean, the night’s headliner, was performing when the incident began. Videos posted on social media show Aldean singing as very rapid gunfire begins in the background. He can be seen running from stage as he, and the thousands in the crowd, realized what was happening.
Aldean called the scene “horrific,” but said he was safe in an Instagram post early Monday.
“Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight,” he wrote. “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
Aldean’s wife Brittany posted a message on Instagram early Monday saying, “We are safe… our angels were definitely watching over us tonight. No words for what happened… Just horrific. Praying for everyone.”
Aldean’s record label Broken Bow Records released a statement Monday as well.
“Aldean, his band and crew and two BMG staff members who were attending the festival were all uninjured. Walker McGuire and Adam Craig who also performed at the festival and are safe along with their bands and crews.
Jon Loba, EVP BBR Music Group, said “We are horrified by the events in Las Vegas overnight and relieved to report that all of our artists, their teams, and our staff are safe and uninjured. The Country Music community is a FAMILY and our listeners are a part of that family. They put food on our tables and allow our artists and staff to live our dreams by going to events like last night. While our artists and staff are safe, our hearts are broken for those listeners in our extended family who just wanted to share a night of great music and the camaraderie that is the hallmark of Country Music.”
Several other country artists who were at the event, including Jake Owen, tweeted in the aftermath. Owen had just finished his set and was still on stage when the shooting started. He told the Today show that he ran off the stage and ducked for cover.
“I was crouched down behind a cop car. There was blood on people and you could see a couple of people in the streets that looked like they had been shot,” he said.
“I spoke to several national media outlets early this morning, but I cannot discuss this unprecedented tragedy any further today,” Owen later told PEOPLE in a statement. “We are all devastated and in shock. I was running for my life like everyone else. I’m praying for every single victim of this unthinkable act and their families. Please pray for peace for our country. We are all suffering.”
Singer Chris Young took to social media as the events were unfolding, clearly shaken.
“My band and I had performed earlier and were actually driving to the airport for a red-eye flight back to Nashville when the shooting started. By the grace of God, we narrowly escaped being involved in this absolutely horrific act,” Scott tells PEOPLE in a statement. “I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families and to all those affected by this senseless tragedy. I also want to applaud the quick actions and heroic deeds performed by first responders and to recognize the countless fans who provided aid and comfort to the injured. This is a sad day for our country.”
“I’m devastated by what took place last night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival,” Dylan Schneider, who also performed earlier in the night, told PEOPLE in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers go out to those injured, and the family and friends of those lost. Thank you to the LVPD for their swift action in helping those injured and securing those in danger.”
As Nashville woke up, other country stars chimed in.
Witnesses reported that a gunman continued to rain bullets on the terrified audience. The victims took the short pauses while the shooter reloaded to run to safety, according to NBC News. Many were trapped in the concert venue as police searched for the gunman.
Police SWAT officers found the shooter – identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada – dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. “Right now we believe it’s a solo act, a lone wolf attacker,” Lombardo told reporters early Monday. “We are pretty confident there is no longer a threat.”
How to Help and Learn About Loved Ones
Friends and family are asked to report missing people believed to be connected to the shooting using the hotline 1-800-536-9488.
Anyone with photo or video evidence of the shooting is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The city of Las Vegas has established a Family Reunification Center to help connect relatives with the more than 500 people who were injured.
In addition, city officials urged those locally who wish to donate blood to visit one of two donation centers operated by United Blood Services, either at 6930 W. Charleston in Las Vegas or at 601 Whitney Ranch Drive in Henderson, Nevada.
A victims’ fund has been started on GoFundMe by Steve Sisolak the Clark County, Nevada, commission chair. Other groups providing relief include the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the National Compassion Fund.