Blake Shelton Pays Tribute To 6 Teens Killed Near His Oklahoma Ranch

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KFOR/YouTube Blake Shelton/Instagram

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Tragedy struck Blake Shelton’s Oklahoma home town of Tishomingo on Tuesday (March 22) when six teen girls were killed in a car accident while on their school lunch break.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the country singer paid tribute to those who were killed, and referenced the loss of his own brother, Richie, who died at the age of 24 in 1990.

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“In the wake of yesterday’s unthinkable crash in our small town of Tishomingo, we as a community have all been in shock and broken-hearted. I personally know the devastation of suddenly losing a loved one in a car accident. But our community is strong and has come together to support and wrap our arms around the families and friends that are hurting the most,” Shelton wrote. “There’s no question it will take a long time to heal from this tragedy. Keep the prayers coming.”

The teens, all female students at Tishomingo High School, were reported to be riding in a 2015 Chevy Spark on their way to lunch when they collided with a tractor-trailer.

The Oklahoman reported that the car designed to seat four was carrying a 16-year-old driver, three 15-year-olds, and two 17-year-olds. Only the driver and a front-seat passenger were wearing seat belts, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper reported.

Sheriff Gary Dodd told the newspaper, “In 22 years, I’ve seen a lot of stuff…critical incidents, shootings. We do see a lot of death, unfortunately, but to see children that have suffered that type of trauma, it’s raw. It hurts, no matter who you are. To lose six in one scene is an absolute travesty.”

Shelton has reportedly lived on his 1300-acre Tishomingo area ranch, called the Ten Point Ranch, for the past decade. Tishomingo is located less than an hour from Ada, Oklahoma, where the country star grew up.