NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — He died at a Broadway honky-tonk after being held down by security. Now, the family of DJ Barrett waits for formal charges to be filed in his homicide investigation.
It’s been nearly three months since Barrett walked into Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row and never walked out.
“It’s just, it’s unbelievable beyond compare,” Tammy Barrett sighed.
What happened to Tammy’s son still seems like a nightmare.
“My son was on the ground, numerous security guards were on top of him, some of them kicked at him,” she explained.
The incident was caught on video with witnesses saying his last words were, “I can’t breathe.”
“They said to the crowd, he can breathe, he can breathe just fine. Yet he’s screaming he can’t breathe and after about seven and a half minutes my son was killed,” the mom explained.
Autopsy results for DJ verified that the 22-year-old died from asphyxiation, and his death was ruled a homicide.
“They confirmed what we had been saying all along — that they did murder him by lying on top of him,” Barrett said.
Tammy said she knew her son was suffocated to death, but the autopsy results revealed disturbing details as to how her son suffered while being restrained by security guards at the bar.
“The part about his lungs filling up with fluid, his eyes, his blood vessels bursting in his eyes, I’d never thought about it so that really got me when I read that. I knew he suffered, but there was so much going on the inside that he was literally in agony when they killed, so that was very hard to take,” said Barrett.
The mother, still trying to mourn her loss, prays for justice for DJ.
“I do want justice for him, I don’t really know what that is.”
Barrett added that she will pursue all possible legal channels.
“We implore General Funk to act swiftly and decisively and to bring those who murdered Dallas Barrett to justice and to hold them to account,” attorney Sarah Cripps told News 2.
Metro police told News 2 earlier in the week that DJ’s death remains open with plans to share the case file with the District Attorney’s office by the end of the week.
“A charge of felony murder is an excellent place to start, but we must also knowledge our civil and criminal court systems are never going to afford Ms. Barrett complete justice,” stated Cripps who is working as co-counsel with Jon Slager for the family.
While DJ’s mom says she wants charges filed, “No matter what they charge him with or don’t charge him with, it’s never going to bring my child back.”
Family and friends are holding a protest at 7 p.m. Saturday night outside of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.
News 2 reached out to Metro police and the District Attorney’s office for updates on the case, but have yet to hear back.