Former NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip decided to go to bed early on Sunday instead of attending the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, where a gunman opened fire and killed at least 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Waltrip reflected on the shooting Monday night in an emotional Instagram post.
He wrote that on Sunday morning, he met a father and daughter who had come to Las Vegas for the music festival and to celebrate the daughter’s 21st birthday. The father, a NASCAR fan, asked to take a picture with Waltrip.
One of Waltrip’s own daughters, Macy, had just turned 20, he wrote, and he was “a bit envious” of the pair’s chance to spend time together.
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Macy woke him up at 4:45 a.m. asking if he was okay, Waltrip wrote in the Instagram caption.
“After we shared our ‘I love yous’ and hung up the phone the first thing I thought of was the dad I met with his daughter,” Waltrip wrote. “I prayed they were ok. I have no way of knowing if they are safe or not.”
Waltrip wrote that he can’t stop thinking about the father and daughter, and he’s praying for them and for everyone who was affected by the shooting.
“Fortunately, friends that I know who were there are all physically ok,” he wrote. “The emotional scars will likely never heal.”
Yesterday morning in Las Vegas, at the MGM, I met a man who was a fan. He asked me if it was ok if his daughter took a photo of us. They were in Vegas celebrating her 21st birthday. The whole family was in town, wife and sister too. Daughter was happy and excited to be headed to the concert. Route 91 was the reason she chose Vegas for her 21st. As they walked off I smiled and I was a bit sad too. My daughter Macy turned 20 just a couple days before and I couldn’t be with her. His daddy daughter time made me a bit envious. At 4:45 this morning I was awaken by my phone ringing. It was Macy. ‘Are you ok dad?’ She asked. I was. I didn’t attend the concert as I had planned to. I called it an early night. After we shared our ‘I love yous’ and hung up the phone the first thing I thought of was the dad I met with his daughter. I prayed they were ok. I have no way of knowing if they are safe or not. I can’t stop thinking about them. So much joy, such beautiful family time and then..... This is my personal story to the unthinkable attack last night. I know there are many more who are hurting. I pray for everyone. To the first responders that helped save lives and comfort the hurting, thank you. Your courage and commitment is amazing. I appreciate each and everyone of you. My heart hurts for all who were effected by the horrific tragedy. I pray for everyone involved. Fortunately, friends that I know who were there are all physically ok. The emotional scars will likely never heal. To the father I met who was doing what every dad dreams of, being with his girl celebrating a significant moment I will do all I can, pray.
A post shared by Michael Waltrip (@mwr55) on
A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino opened fire while country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night a the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At least 59 people, including two off-duty police officers, and wounded more than 400, officials said Monday. Here, see footage of people fleeing the scene and police responding before suspect 64-year-old Stephen Paddock was killed.Storyful and AP