Eric Church: 2 empty seats at Grand Ole Opry were for Las Vegas shooting victims

NASHVILLE - Country music star Eric Church honored the victims of the deadly Las Vegas festival shooting Wednesday night during a performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

Church headlined the first night of the Route 91 Harvest festival Friday night before the Sunday shooting that left 59 people dead and more than 500 people injured.

On stage Wednesday, he spoke about the tragedy during his performance and memorialized the victims with a performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

He said he also walked through the crowd during Friday’s concert, never imagining that the place he stood would be the scene of "carnage 48 hours later".

From their hospital beds, survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting describe being shot, heroes, and fighting to survive. USA TODAY

"It was our last show of the year. I watched them hold American flags up...I was so, um, moved mainly because I thought this is my crowd I've seen them all year.," he said. "I did something different... I went down on the floor. I shook everybody's hand. I told them thank you for coming."

"I didn't want to be here tonight. But last night somebody sent me a video ... a woman on CNN had on (an Eric Church) T-Shirt. She said her husband died. She said we have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night."

Church said there were two empty seats in the Opry House for the Meltons.

"The reason I'm here tonight is because of Heather (Melton). And Sonny (Melton) who died."

Sonny and Heather Melton were at the festival when the gunman opened fire. 

"He saved my life," Heather Melton told USA TODAY. "He grabbed me from behind and started running when I felt him get shot in the back." 

Sonny Melton died in the attack. He was 29. 

The Tennessean


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