Country star Jason Aldean started off “Saturday Night Live” by taking the stage to pay tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre and late rocker Tom Petty.
Aldean performed Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” during the live opening Saturday night and addressed the deadly shooting that killed 58 people in a message to the audience and viewers.
“This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Aldean said. “So many people are hurting. You can be sure that we are going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way.”
The country star was singing his song “When She Says Baby” at Route 91 Harvest Festival last Sunday night in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire at a crowd of 22,000 people. Video showed the terrifying moment Aldean rushed off the stage as the spray of bullets hit concertgoers.
Nearly 500 people were also injured in the massacre. Aldean released a lengthy statement a day after saying his “heart aches for the victims and their families of the senseless act.”
“Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Scared, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont (sic) understand why a person would want to take the life of another,” Aldean wrote on Instagram late Monday night.
“Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in. At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE,” he continued.
Petty died Monday in Los Angeles at age 66 after suffering cardiac arrest, Tony Dimitriades, the band manager, announced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.