John Rich Recalls Off-Duty Police Officer’s Heroic Actions Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting
John Rich and Big Kenny of country duo Big & Rich had a different experience during the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Sunday night (Oct. 1), as they were not on the festival grounds when it took place. However, they were nearby, and they experienced firsthand the heroism of an off-duty police officer during the terrifying event, which killed 59 and injured over 500 people.
Big & Rich played on Sunday, before the shooting took place during Jason Aldean's festival-closing set. But, instead of sticking around, Rich tells Fox News, he went to a nearby country music bar, Redneck Riviera, which he owns, to play an after-party show. When they heard the news about the shooting, Rich says, an off-duty police officer from Minneapolis guarded the bar door as everyone else barricaded themselves inside, hoping for safety. The off-duty police officer used Rich's side arm to protect the bar's entrance; the bar's guests all stayed in lockdown, fearing at any second, “someone could come blasting through the door."
Rich was so impressed by the officer's selfless protection, he tweeted on Monday (Oct. 2) at 4:30PM ET: "Will the off duty officer that used my side arm to protect entrance @RNRBarVegas last night pls contact me? Pls retweet and pass the word." Just over an hour later, the singer announced, "I found him! He wants to remain anonymous, so I'll respect that wish. He's a Minneapolis officer, and we had great teamwork. Thank you sir."
Country Stars Respond Following Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting
Rich also praised other police officers and paramedics for their actions during the shooting, calling them "nothing short of impressive" (quote via Fox News).
"First responders activated instantaneously on this deal," he adds.
Big & Rich were staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino -- the same place from which the shooter attacked. Their rooms were close to his, according to Big Kenny.
“Our rooms were right underneath where his room was,” Big Kenny tells ET. “I was looking down at the festival the whole day. I was watching all the fans coming into the festival. It’s as heartbreaking of an event as you can possibly have.”
In his statements, Big Kenny is adamant that he won't let fear lead following the mass shooting: “Fear will not overtake us,” he says.
“We will continue to march forward with our music. I know that all the artists out there, we are all so concerned right now, first and foremost about our fans, but [we] will not let this stop us in any way," he notes. "We will go forth every day and shine the light of love as bright as we possibly can against all the darkness and outrageous things like this that might ever come upon our path in life. And we will continue to walk in God’s light the best we can.”
Remembering the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Victims