A document released Wednesday appears to detail country music star Jason Aldean’s account of the Oct. 1 shooting on the Strip.
“I was onstage singing and thought I heard fireworks,” a witness wrote in a four-sentence statement provided to the Metropolitan Police Department. “I turned to look at my monitor guy and saw my personal security guard running toward me and telling me to evacuate the stage.”
The witness statement was among 2,000 pages of documents released by Metro on Wednesday as part of a court order. The name is redacted from the document, but Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest festival when gunman Stephen Paddock started shooting into the crowd from his Mandalay Bay suite, killing 58 concertgoers and injuring hundreds of others.
In a November interview with “Today,” Aldean recounted his experience and said that he had looked over at his “monitor guy” to figure out what was happening.
According to the statement, the singer lay with the security guard on the stage and hid until they could get to the singer’s bus.
“We then stayed in the back of the bus for a few hours until police escorted us away,” the witness wrote.
Officers coordinated with Aldean’s band to have them take shelter inside their tour bus, an Oct. 5 officer report indicates. Many others had used the buses parked in the backstage lot as cover.
Metro officer Christopher Cooney and others formed a perimeter around several tour buses, “some of which had bullet impacts,” to protect them, Cooney wrote in a statement.
Police arranged for a passenger van to carry those in the lot to a church at Reno Avenue and Giles Street, where Metro stationed a mobile command vehicle.
Cooney’s officer statement suggests he and officer Ali Imran Saleem escorted Aldean and others from the church to a private airport.
Cooney and Saleem took a man with a redacted name, “his bodyguard, and his pregnant wife” to the Signature Flight Support private airport, Cooney wrote. The man had sheltered inside a tour bus before police guided him to safety, the report said. Aldean and his wife, Brittany, welcomed a baby boy on Dec. 1.
During the trip to the airport, the man recalled hearing “the first few pops” while performing onstage.
“He said he was confused like everyone was and looked around but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary,” the report said. “The next large barrage of fire he said was so loud to him that it sounded as if someone was right next to the stage firing shots.
“At that same time, (redacted) told us that he could see people in the audience dropping to the ground ‘in waves.’”
After somebody backstage yelled that the sounds were gunfire and he should get down, the man ran off the stage and toward his wife, he told the officers.
Cooney’s statement was taken Oct. 7, and the witness statement was taken Oct. 1 at Roman Catholic Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer, 55 E. Reno Ave.