Elvis Monroe Guitarist Ben Carey On the Horror of Las Vegas Shooting: 'I Was Waiting For a Bullet'
publish date: 2017-10-05
Ben Carey is a former member of the bands Savage Garden and Lifehouse who currently plays in the country-tinged southern rock band Elvis Monroe, which performed at the first edition of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas four years ago. On Oct. 1, the night of the mass shooting during a Jason Aldean performance at the festival that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others, Carey was in attendance as a fan alongside best friend and bandmate Bryan Hopkins, and was in the crowd when the shooting began. Here, Carey tells the story of his frantic flight to get away, the chaos of the situation as it unfolded and the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy.
Ben Carey: We were hanging backstage and we went out front, about 50 yards from the stage, to watch the show. Jason [Aldean] had been on stage about 20 minutes -- he was approaching his fifth or sixth song -- when we heard two shots, crack-crack, that none of us paid attention to. I kind of tapped Bryan and said, “The pyro didn’t work.” We’re there celebrating music, you’re not thinking it’s a gunshot. Maybe five seconds later there was another burst, and I thought, "What kind of idiot would bring firecrackers to a festival?" And then I realized it wasn’t firecrackers.
At that point, Jason Aldean ran offstage. The gentleman in front of me fell; I looked to my left and two girls went down, one motionless on top of the other; and I grabbed Bryan’s arm and screamed, "Run!" I immediately turned and headed for a friend’s wife, but she wasn’t there; I was going diagonal to the traffic of the herd and I got knocked over, got up, turned around and I couldn’t see Bryan. I started running with the crowd, otherwise I was going to get knocked over.