Austin band member describes backstage chaos during Las Vegas shootings

Austin musician Carlos Sosa shares his story of what happened backstage when shooting started at Sunday's country music festival in Las Vegas. (Photo: Sean Leach)

An Austin musician describes the backstage chaos in Las Vegas as a nightmare. Saxophone player Carlos Sosa performed at Sunday’s country music festival three hours before the shooting started. He was hanging out with friends and other musicians backstage when the bullets started raining down.

“I heard pops, but I didn't think much about it. And then somebody said there are fireworks,” said Sosa.

Sosa looked up at the sky. He didn't see anything, but then the musician felt something sharp.

“It was either concrete or metal, but I felt something hit my side,” said Sosa.

He and two other band members were grazed by small pieces of shrapnel.

“And then somebody, a security guy, started screaming for everybody to get down. And it was like a movie, everybody just hit the ground,” said Sosa.

Sosa is touring with the Josh Abbott Band. They all took cover behind the tour buses, along with many other performers and their families and friends. No one could see what was happening, but they were overwhelmed by the sound of fear.

“I could hear just thousands of people screaming,” said Sosa.

And then he saw a man bleeding from a bullet wound. That’s when the saxophone player thought he was going to die.

“I was like wow, those are gunshots, real gunshots and I looked to the left and there was probably about three people that were also shot and laying down on the ground,” said Sosa. “And there was nothing I could do. And I was like alright this is going to happen.”

Back in Austin in his home studio, Sosa says the shootings still don't feel completely real. The saxophone player for the Grooveline Horns, Zac Brown Band, Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson and most recently the Josh Abbott Band says in some ways he's still numb, except for feeling very lucky to have survived.

“If any of us had moved over a millimeter or if he had moved a millimeter we'd be gone, instantly. So that kind of emotion is setting in today for sure,” said Sosa. “Man, I need to love my family and my friends and I know I'm lucky I'm still here.”

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