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‘Those were my people’: Eric Church breaks down in tribute to Las Vegas shooting victims

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country star Eric Church burst into tears during a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas.

Church, a headliner at the festival, opened up to the crowd at the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday before debuting a song he wrote in the victims’ honor called “Why Not Me.”

“This past Friday, I played the Harvest music festival in Vegas … 48 hours later, those places that I stood, it was carnage,” Church said. “Those were my people. Those were my fans.”

When talking about his motivation behind the performance, Church pointed out two empty seats for Sonny Melton and his wife, Heather. Sonny died in the shooting while Heather survived.

He explained, “I didn’t want to be here tonight. I didn’t want to play guitar. But last night somebody sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton and she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN. She goes, ‘We went there to see Eric Church because he was Sonny’s … it was his guy. We went there to see his guy. Then she said, ‘We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.’”

Sunday night, Gunman Stephen Paddock fired shots at concertgoers from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. 58 people were killed and 527 injured.