Investigation Continues After Musician Killed By Bar Owner - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Investigation Continues After Musician Killed By Bar Owner

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Courtesy of YouTube. Courtesy of YouTube.
Photo courtesy of Gary Sargeant. Photo courtesy of Gary Sargeant.

by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There are still so many unanswered questions after musician Wayne Mills was shot and killed at the Pit and Barrel Bar early Saturday morning.

Just enter the words Wayne Mills Band into a YouTube search and your speakers will be filled with a deep cadence that stayed true to the front man's Alabama roots.

"He spoke the truth. It wasn't always pretty. But he spoke the truth," friend and head of the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame, Gary Sargeant said.

Wayne Mills' songs never shot up the charts and that was fine by him.

"He's just very special. He would not sacrifice his music for money," Sargeant said. "The likes of Blake Shelton and Jamey Johnson opened for him in years past."

For more than a decade, he hit the road playing for crowds and turning them into loyal fans. There were plenty more songs left in the 44-year-old who had a new album and many gigs planned through the end of the year. Saturday morning that all changed.

"If you ever met Wayne you had a friend for life," Sargeant said.

Mills was shot in the head by Pit and Barrel Bar owner, Chris Ferrell. Police said the two had an argument after Mills started smoking in a non-smoking area of the bar. Ferrell was not arrested, as he told police the shots were fired in self-defense.

"We were just kind of in shock, lost numb… everybody that was gathered there last night at the hospital."

Officials from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department initially misidentified Mills, delaying notification to his family and those closest to him for at least 10 hours. They later apologized for the error. By Sunday, police said the shooting and the mix-up continue to be under investigation.

"He was just the biggest gentlest giant of a man whose talent was only exceeded by his heart. He's going to be sorely missed."

The Pit and Barrel was scheduled to be on the Spike TV Show "Bar Rescue" at 9 p.m. Sunday , but the network decided against airing it. However, the episode ended up airing as a repeat at midnight. 

Spike issued this statement in light of the error: "In our last minute effort over the weekend to pull the "Bar Rescue" episode featuring the Pit and Barrel, we regretfully did not remove a late-night telecast of the episode. We apologize to all those affected by the terrible tragedy over the weekend and to Jon Taffer, the production team, and our advertisers for our unfortunate human error."

Meanwhile, a fund has been established for Wayne Mills' wife Carol and son Jack. A benefit concert is also being planned.

For more information on the Wayne Mills Family Fund, call 615-332-5253.


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