The country music community, along with the rest of the nation, is still reeling from Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas during the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Vice President Mike Pence, a country music fan himself, had a heartfelt message for The Highway host Storme Warren, who was one of several SiriusXM staffers, including hosts Buzz Brainard and Al Skop, that witnessed the harrowing scene while at the concert late Sunday night.
“I can’t for the life of me imagine what it was like to be there,” Pence said. “I spoke to the president last night after he arrived back from Las Vegas, and I know he was deeply moved to speak with families of those who were recovering from injuries and to speak with first responders who literally flew into a hail of gunfire.”
Pence said he was especially moved after hearing that concert attendees had sung God Bless America in unison before Jason Aldean took the stage, not long before the rampage occurred.
“The last time I remember being that moved by that account was when I stood on the steps of the United States Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, and that same song broke out,” Pence recalled.
Storme told Pence that he and The Highway family were “looking to [Pence] to and to the President and to other leaders to help guide us through this.”
Pence said, “We’re going to be there with those that are recovering and with all of those impacted — like you, Storme, — by this horrific event.”
Pence then assured him that the administration was working around the clock with law enforcement agencies “to get to the bottom of this.”
“We’re going to find out what happened here [and] if there were others involved, we’re going to hold them to the very strictest account,” he said, noting that the shooter’s targeting of country music fans hit close to home.
“I truly do believe that the people gathered on that field represent the best of us in this country. Maybe I’m a little biased,” he said. “I’m a country music fan. You could grab my iPhone and find Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and you could find a lot of Jason Aldean. I became a big fan of his with the song Fly Over States, talked about Indiana. I literally got a lump in my throat the first time I heard Jason Aldean sing, ‘have you ever been [through] Indiana?'”
He continued: “I know the character of people who cherish country music. I sense it. I share their values, their sense of community, and I know we’ll come through this stronger and better than ever before.’
If you’d like to help the victims of Las Vegas and find access mental-health resources, head to siriusxm.com/helpvegas.