Wayne Mills, an outlaw country music star, died over the weekend after an altercation with a Nashville bar owner turned violent. The fight was sparked by Mills’ smoking.
Police are investigating the incident, which happened at the Pit and Barrel bar in downtown Nashville in the early hours of Saturday morning. Mills and bar owner Chris Ferrell, both 44, were hanging at the bar with a few acquaintances when the two got into an argument about Mills smoking in the no-smoking establishment, The Tennessean reported.
Ferrell told police he shot Mills in self-defense when the fight escalated. Mills died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center of a gunshot wound to the head, CNN reported. No arrests have yet been made, police spokeswoman Kris Mumford told reporters.
Ferrell and Mills had both been arrested before — Ferrell was picked up twice on charges of driving with a suspended license and Mills had two DUI-related convictions.
Ironically, Pit and Barrel was supposed to be featured Sunday night on an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” a reality show that sends nightclub expert Jon Taffer around the country to help revamp and transform struggling bars. The network instead aired a rerun in place of the Pit and Barrel episode.
Mills led the Wayne Mills Band, which enjoyed a loyal following and small-town success. Singers like Blake Shelton and “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks opened for Mills before they made it big.
Extremely sad to hear about the death of my old friend Wayne Mills @WayneMillsBand… Rest in peace brother. Love you Carol.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) November 24, 2013
My good friend Wayne Mills passed away in Nashville. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP Wayne he was my buddy.
— Taylor Hicks (@taylorhicks) November 24, 2013
— Dee Jay Silver (@deejaysilver1) November 25, 2013
man….totally shocked and saddened to hear about @waynemillsband wayne mills death. honky tonker and true lover of country music. RIP wayne
— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) November 25, 2013
At the time of his death, Mills was in the middle of working on his seventh album, “Long Hard Road,” according to CNN.
By Alexandra Ward