IRVINE (CBSLA) – Country music star Jason Aldean performed in Irvine Saturday night, nearly one year after a gunman opened fire during an Aldean concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.
Aldean took the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the FivePoint Amphitheatre as part of his High Noon Neon 2018 Tour.
On Oct. 1, 2017, while Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 people from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
According to the Orange County Register, hundreds of Route 91 shooting survivors were attending Aldean’s Irvine concert, which was scheduled to make up of the Southern California concerts which he was forced to cancel in the wake of the shooting.
Aldean already played San Diego on Sept. 20 and San Bernardino on Sept. 22.
Melissa Coffey, a mother of two who was wounded in the Las Vegas shooting, attended the San Bernardino concert and planned to go again Saturday night.
She says the bullet that struck her missed her femoral artery by less than a centimeter. She spent time on crutches and in a wheelchair.
“I know how lucky I am,” Coffey told CBS2 Friday. “I’ve had every doctor I saw tell me how incredibly lucky I am to be alive.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Owen, who was also injured in last year’s massacre, celebrated his 30th birthday at Aldean’s show at the Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino.
He called it a healing moment, and he encouraged other survivors to use this weekend’s event to gain some closure.
“It was a great time,” Owen said. “There were definitely moments when he started playing some of the songs at the time of the shooting and before and it was definitely an emotional moment for all of us. But we were happy it went off without a hitch.”
Owen helped usher his wife and friends to safety, but then, to the chagrin of his wife, he ran back into the line of fire to help others. He quickly realized, with another police officer on scene, that though they could tell the gunfire was coming from a building they could do nothing to stop that and could only help the victims.
Owen was pulling one survivor to safety when he realized he was shot.
“As I’m pulling him it was like I was on fire — there was a burning sensation in my stomach,” Owen said.
Then he felt a sharp pain in his right leg and his jeans were covered in blood.
Someone helped him hobble to safety and then pushed him over a wall, where two Air Force nurses helped put pressure on his wounds to stop the bleeding before he was taken to a hospital.
It took months and multiple surgeries, but he managed to get back to his job. He has shrapnel in his legs that is too risky to remove so he lives with that, and he said the bullets pain him at times, a constant reminder of the shooting.
He said he believes seeing Aldean finish a show can be therapeutic for survivors such as himself, and he encouraged others to attend the Irvine show.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)