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

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

Church, who was a headliner at the festival two days before the shooting, was at the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday where he debuted a song he wrote in the victims’ honor called “Why Not Me.”

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

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

“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,’” Church said.

On Sunday night, Stephen Paddock fired a hailstorm of bullets at concertgoers from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and wounding 527.