Then, a lone gunman identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, began his deadly assault, firing from his perch high in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 59 people - the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. "And that night in Las Vegas, it seemed like - I mean, you've seen the pictures - it looked like literally every single hand out there had their light up over the heads singing at the top of their lungs".
Although police said they had no other suspects, Lombardo said investigators wanted to talk with Paddock's girlfriend and live-in companion, Marilou Danley, who he said was traveling overseas, possibly in Tokyo.
The country singer recounted how he met one of the Las Vegas massacre victims backstage just an hour before he was shot and killed that night - Sonny Melton, a registered nurse from Tennessee who died while shielding his wife from the gunfire.
"It don't get any worse", said Big Kenny, whose own hotel room at Mandalay Bay was right beneath the shooter's.
"Our hearts go out at this senseless loss, but we won't let this stop us or put fear in our hearts when we go out there and celebrate our music with our fans", he said. But what I do know is that the country music community will face it with strength and resilience.
Rich then gave his firearm to the off-duty officer. "The country music world is just one big family". "NOW", he said. "My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn't realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it". "We can't go on that stage with fear in our hearts, and we won't". In light of his dark act of evil, many stories of heroism continue to surface in the aftermath of the shooting.
The emotional video is an example of American unity, as Big & Rich put it. We were over there, onstage there, and got the tap on the shoulder that there was an active shooter.