If you were an Atlanta musician hoping for a big break, you wanted to know DJ Nando. He was the man who wanted the newest songs to play in nightclubs, and some of rap music’s biggest names credited him with helping launch their careers.
But after returning to his Clayton County home after a night of work, William “Fernando” Barnes, 38, was shot to death beside his car early Tuesday, according to police and his family.
“Basically, he drove home, pulled in his driveway, someone had been sitting waiting at his house in the backyard and they ran up and shot him once in the head,” Richard Hannah, Barnes’ brother-in-law, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He passed away minutes later.”
Barnes’ fiancee had been inside the Oak Mill Court home, in a neighborhood off Mt. Zion Road, when she heard the gunshot. She ran outside to see Barnes take his last breath, Hannah said.
Neighbor Cindy Copeland said she heard a “very large bang” about 3:30 a.m. and initially thought the power had gone out.
“But what grabbed my attention about 4 o’clock was a hysterical woman, on her phone, walking up and down the street, yelling, ‘my baby, my baby,’” she said. “After listening to her, I realized, there’s five or six police cars out here, and that’s when I started realizing something very serious has happened down our street here.”
Police declined to release a possible motive in the shooting death. But Barnes’ family confirmed that robbery did not seem likely because all of his electronic equipment and cash were left behind.
“They didn’t take one item from his car, off his body, anything,” Hannah said.
While police investigated the homicide Tuesday, family and friends of the popular deejay were shocked to learn of his sudden death, with many using social media to express condolences.
“RIP MY BROTHER DJ NANDO: I REALLY HATE THAT IM POSTING THIS, MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY,” Jermaine Dupri, entertainment mogul, posted on Twitter.
Other hip-hop artists, such as 2 Chainz and T.I., as well as dozens of those who knew Barnes from various adult entertainment nightclubs, posted messages and pictures.
“All he ever talked about was music. Period,” Hannah said by phone late Tuesday. “All of the artists in Atlanta would come to hear what he was playing.”
Barnes’ parents were driving to Atlanta from Virginia after learning of his death, Hannah said. Barnes is survived by an 11-year-old daughter.
— Staff writer Mike Morris and photographer John Spink contributed to this report.