Eric Church gets emotional over fan killed in Vegas massacre

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:48 PM

Recording artist Eric Church performs during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival at the Las Vegas Village on September 29, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)
Mindy Small/FilmMagic
Recording artist Eric Church performs during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival at the Las Vegas Village on September 29, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)(Mindy Small/FilmMagic)

Eric Church headlined the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sept. 29, which was his last full show of 2017. His fans came from all over the country to see him one more time, and Church instantly recognized the fans as his own.

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During an emotional appearance on the Grand Ole Opry a few nights later, Church remembered his time with the Route 91 crowd. He said, “I watched them hold American flags up during ‘How ‘Bout You.’ I watched them put an American scarf around my neck during ‘Springsteen.’ They held records up when I played ‘Record Year.’ They held boots up when I played ‘These Boots.’ And I was so moved by it, mainly because I looked at ’em and went, ‘This is my crowd. I’ve seen this crowd all year. They’re mine.'”

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Since it was the last show of the year, Church decided to get out into the crowd in Vegas and thank the fans for giving him such an incredible year on the road. There was an open space that ran through the middle of the fans, and he ran through it towards the middle of his set.

“I went down the right side, and I shook everybody’s hand, and I told them, ‘Thank you for coming. It’s been a heck of a year. It’s been a hell of a year, actually.’ I went all the way down the right side. Waved at my sound guy. Came back up the left side. Smiling faces. Hands in the air. Pictures being taken. I jumped back up onstage. I played ‘Holdin’ My Own’ and ‘A Man That Was Gonna Die Young.'”

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He then watched in horror on the news as a gunman shot into that same crowd on Sunday night during Jason Aldean’s show.

He told the Opry audience, “Forty-eight hours later, those places that I stood was carnage. Those were my people. Those were my fans.”

Church admitted he didn’t want to be onstage at the Opry this week, but then he saw a woman named Heather Melton being interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN while wearing one of his tour t-shirts. Her husband, Sonny, was gunned down in the mass shooting, and Heather Melton told the anchor they were at the festival to see Church, who was Sunny’s favorite artist.

Church continued, “Then she said, ‘We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.’ Over here, section three, row F, if you’re there, row four, there’s some empty seats. Those are their seats.”

The tribute to those fallen fans continued as Church added, “The reason I’m here tonight is because of Heather Melton, and Sonny, who died, and every person that was there. Because let me tell you, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. What I saw, that moment in time that was frozen, there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. Nothing.”

Church remembered the victims in Las Vegas with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Tonight, we let music heal. 🙏 @ericchurchmusic #Opry

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He also said the shooting “broke something” inside of him, and that the only way he’s ever fixed anything broken inside himself is through music. So, Church wrote a new song to cope with the tragedy called “Why Not Me” and debuted it on the Opry stage that night.

I didn’t want to be here tonight. I didn’t want to play guitar. I didn’t want to walk on this stage, but last night, let me try to get this out, last night somebody sent me a video of a lady named Heather Melton and she was talking to Anderson Cooper on CNN and she had on our Church Choir Tour shirt. And he said, “what brought you to Vegas?” and she goes “We went there to see Eric Church because he was Sonny’s [her husband who died] it was his guy, and we went there to see his guy.” And then she said “We have tickets for the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night.” And there’s a, over here, section 3, row F, if you’re there in row F, there’s some empty seats and that’s their seats. And, I’m gonna tell you something, the reason I’m here, the reason I’m here tonight, is because of Heather Melton and her husband Sonny, who died, and every person that was there. I’ll tell you something, I saw that crowd. I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. None. And that night, something broke in me, on Sunday night when that happened. And the only way I’ve ever fixed anything that’s been broken in me is with music. So I wrote a song...

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Hundreds of protesters marching over death of Antwon Rose shut down traffic for miles

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:10 PM

Officer Allegedly Kills Unarmed Teen After Being Sworn In Hours Before

Hundreds of marchers took to the streets of Pittsburgh Thursday night, protesting the fatal police shooting of a teenager during a traffic stop Tuesday night.

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Traffic was brought to a standstill as protesters spilled onto Pittsburgh’s Parkway East.

The protest is described by WPXI reporters on the scene as “tense,” but “peaceful so far.”

Marchers, holding signs and cell phones, sat down in the street, blocking traffic and causing a back up for miles.

Residents are angry and upset over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Antwon Rose.

Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock. As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran. 

Footage of the shooting posted on Facebook Tuesday shows the scene from a distance. The 18-second video shows Rose and the other passenger, who has not been found by police, get out of the car and make a break for the yard between two nearby houses.

Three shots are heard and one of the passengers appears to fall into the grass.

Rose, who police officials said was struck three times, was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The Allegheny County medical examiner on Thursday ruled the teen’s death a homicide. 

The East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Rose  was sworn in just hours before the fatal encounter.

Mayor Louis Payne told WPXI Wednesday that the unidentified officer who killed Rose previously spent seven years working in other departments, but confirmed that he was working his first shift following his official swearing in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department.

Cox Media Group’s Crystal Bonvillian contributed to this report.

Pictured is the spot on East Pittsburgh's Grandview Avenue where unarmed teen Antwon Rose was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Witnesses said Rose, 17, was shot in the back as he ran from a traffic stop.(Keith Srakocic/via AP)

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Driver surprised by snake surrounding leg while driving

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:59 AM

Woman Finds Snake Wrapped Around Leg While Driving

Time to get a new car! 

A woman said she was driving when she felt something on her leg. And it wasn’t her imagination. The unidentified woman saw a six-foot-long snake slithering up her leg, WSPA reported.

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A pest removal service in Rutherford County said that a customer of theirs had a box in her car that she was taking to the dump. The box had been sitting outside and the snake had crawled in. The Bug Man reminded people in its Facebook post about the incident, to always check boxes and planters before moving them. Snakes and other critters can make containers their home.

She called police for help and they got the serpent out of her vehicle using snake tongs, WSPA reported.

The stowaway’s story doesn’t end there. The snake actually got out of its container while police were relocating it, but eventually got out of the police car and made its way into a creek, WSPA reported.

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Teen sucked into drainage pipe by floodwaters, emerges across street

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:43 PM

Ben Smith estimates he was trapped in the pipe for about a minute before washing out in a small creek on the other side of the road. (WPXI.com)
Ben Smith estimates he was trapped in the pipe for about a minute before washing out in a small creek on the other side of the road. (WPXI.com)

A Pennsylvania teenager admits he’s lucky to be alive after getting sucked into a drainage pipe underneath a road south of Pittsburgh.

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Ben Smith was helping clear debris from outside of neighbors’ houses during massive flooding Wednesday night.

"There was a quick moment when I thought I wouldn't get out. It felt like I was going down," Smith said. "We were trying to move a van away from it and clear some debris. I went to go after this wood panel and my foot slipped and I just went right under."

Neighbors tried to pull him out, but the floodwater was too strong and Smith was washed away.

He said his instincts and Eagle Scout training kicked in.

"It teaches you to be prepared for any sort of circumstance that comes your way," Smith said. "I knew going against the water would not work at all. So I just tucked in and hoped I could end up somewhere."

Smith estimates he was trapped in the pipe for about a minute before washing out in a small creek on the other side of the road.

He escaped with no broken bones and no major injuries, which shocked his friends and neighbors.

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Weird-looking ancient sea creature named after President Barack Obama; it’s actually an honor

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:40 PM

Two new fossils discovered by UC Riverside researchers  in South Australia. The one named after former President Barack Obama, Obamus coronatus, is on the left. The other is named after British naturalist  Sir David Attenborough.
Two new fossils discovered by UC Riverside researchers in South Australia. The one named after former President Barack Obama, Obamus coronatus, is on the left. The other is named after British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Former President Barack Obama was such a friend to science and so passionate about a diverse number of scientific issues that researchers at the University of California at Riverside decided to honor him by naming an ancient sea creature after him.

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Obamus coronatus, translated means Obama crowned, was a disc-shaped, ocean-dwelling sea creature, which lived in the Earth’s shallow oceans between 580 and 540 million years ago, according to UCR researchers. It had raised spiral groves on its surface and scientists believe it was stationary, embedded in the ocean mat, “a thick layer of organic matter that covered the early ocean floor,” according to a statement.

The animals were soft-bodied and lived in the Precambrian era at the dawn of animal life, researchers said. They were discovered in South Australia’s Ediacara Hills in Flinders Ranges as fossils in sandstone that had been preserved for hundreds of millions of years.

These animals “are a new body plan, unlike anything else that has been described,” lead researcher Mary Droser said.

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“We have been seeing evidence for these animals for quite a long time, but it took us a while to verify that they are animals within their own rights and not part of another animal,” Droser said.  

The discovery of Obamus coroanatus was first reported in the online Australian Journal of Earth Sciences on June 14.

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