Country Singer John Rich Says He Gave Gun to Off-Duty Officer in Las Vegas

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
October 3, 2017USshare
Country Singer John Rich Says He Gave Gun to Off-Duty Officer in Las Vegas
John Rich Multi-award winning Country artist and long-time St. Jude supporter at a private event hosting the top 25 St. Jude Country Music Marathon fundraising Heroes at his Nashville residence in Mt. Richmore, Tennessee on April 26, 2015. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for St. Jude)

John Rich of Big & Rich performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas before gunshots rang out.

“I had a Minneapolis police officer off-duty hanging out. He came up to me and he showed me his badge and he says, ‘I’m officer… and I am not armed for the first time ever I can’t believe it. Are you armed? I said, ‘Yes sir, I am armed.’ I have my concealed weapons permit and I said, ‘Yes, I am armed.’ He said, ‘Can I have your firearm so I can hold point on this front door,” Rich explained to Fox News.

Rich then gave his firearm to the off-duty officer. He was hanging out at the Redneck Riveria bar that he owns.

“So, I handed over my firearm to him and everybody got behind him for about two hours without flinching this guy kept a point on that front door just in case somebody came through,” Rich said.

The Oct.1, Sunday night shooting spree from a 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay hotel, on the Las Vegas Strip, killed at least 59 people before the gunman turned a weapon on himself. More than 500 people were injured and some were trampled in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, left no immediate hint of his motive for amassing an arsenal of high-powered weaponry, including 42 guns, or for the carnage he inflicted on a crowd of 22,000 attending an outdoor country music festival.

“He was a sick man, a demented man,” President Donald Trump told reporters. “Lot of problems, I guess, and we’re looking into him very, very seriously, but we’re dealing with a very, very sick individual.”

People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017 . (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A man stands outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after an active shooter was reported in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017 . (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Police said they believed Paddock acted alone.

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters on Monday. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.”

Although police said they had no other suspects, Lombardo said investigators wanted to talk with Paddock’s girlfriend and live-in companion, Marilou Danley, who he said was traveling abroad, possibly in Tokyo.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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