A Kenny Rogers impersonator is being called a hero after reportedly saving 10 people during the Las Vegas mass shooting. The attack, which left 59 dead and more than 500 injured, was without question horrific. But the heroic 71-year-old impersonator, whose real name is Richard Hampton, is proof that even in times of distress and heartbreak, there is still hope for humanity.
In an interview with Esquire, Hampton shared his story about what happened the night of the attack at what started off as a normal country music festival.
"I've always loved country music concerts," he said. "The sense of community and love in the crowd is actually what inspired me to be a Kenny Rogers impersonator and it's what keeps my wife of 40 years, Cheryl, and I coming back to shows, like the one on Sunday."
But then, soon after Jason Aldean stepped onstage, the gunman began shooting at the crowd.
"We thought they were fireworks," he said. "Cheryl said, 'Really? That’s a sick joke for someone to play with firecrackers during a concert.' But then all hell broke loose."
Richard and Cheryl were able to get to their car quickly enough afterward, but soon a group of young women begged the couple to let them in too.
He said, "I told them, 'Stay calm, girls, I’m going to get you to a safe place.'"
But just as they were all about to pull out of the lot, they noticed a panicked woman waving to them, yelling that her friend had been shot. So he let them in too.
"We must have had about 10 people crammed in the van at this point," he said. "The girls in the back helped stretch out the woman who was bleeding. Her name was Jennifer. I turned on my flashers and started honking, driving past other cars."
But despite how scared everyone in the car was, Hampton said he managed to somehow remain calm.
"Now, you have to understand, I’m relatively nuts, a crazy person full of energy. I’m an impersonator in Vegas for goodness sake. But something about this moment, I can’t explain it, I was cool as a cucumber," he said.
After making it out of the parking lot, he found some police officers and alerted them that Jennifer had been shot and was in critical condition, before he drove on the wrong side of the Las Vegas strip to reach medics.
The last he heard of Jennifer was that she was in critical condition, so he is hoping she makes it out alive. After he left her with medical care, he dropped the bachelorette party off at home.
"I don’t feel like I saved them or anything, it’s just human decency," he said, "I like to think that if I was in this situation, someone would do the same for me."