NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Police are still searching for the person responsible for the death of 60-year-old Rodrigo Ernesto “Ernie” Aguilar, a beloved musician and Bellevue Middle School custodian.
On Sunday, May 28, friends and loved ones gathered outside the middle school for a candlelight vigil in honor of Aguilar.
“He was more than just a custodian, he was somebody who added joy and life into our day every single day. He loved the students here, he loved all the faculty and staff and so he was a very important person in our Bellevue community,” Bellevue Middle School Principal Seth Swihart said.
Local musicians also came out, saying Aguilar’s life was taken too soon.
“We were like brothers, we’re like family, everybody here’s like family. Just amazing human being,” Gary Keith Johnson II said.
“We were in bands together in the early 90s. I met him, he came up to Michigan, and we toured in a band called Young Country that was signed by Sony and subsidiaries of Sony, and that’s how we first met in the early 90s, and then when he left our band, it was when he went in [with] Sammy Kershaw and started touring with Sammy the whole time, up until the last recent years,” he added.
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Police said surveillance video showed Aguilar returning to his Bellevue Road home and unloading his car around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 27.
According to officials, he appeared to notice something off camera, walked toward the area where he was shot, and died at the scene.
Even though officers responded to reports of shots fired in the area just after 2 a.m., they said they did not find a crime scene or victim.
Then, at approximately 7:15 a.m., police said they were dispatched to the Slate Apartments in the 7400 block of Highway 70 South after Aguilar was found lying outside an apartment.
“Being someone that lives in love, he was also about the right thing, doing the right thing, and justice, so it’s just like him or one of us to intervene if we see something going on,” Johnson explained. “So if he saw something that whatever it was going down, he would intervene, and that’s what we think he did.”
In addition to his music and work at Bellevue Middle School, friends said Aguilar was very active in his church, where he ministered and played music.
“He was just all about love, but Nashville’s definitely missing a good one. We’re all wondering why something like this would happen to someone so good, someone so angelic,” Johnson said. “It just doesn’t make sense to us why someone could lose their life that way.”
A GoFundMe has also been set up to help with funeral expenses.
Anyone with information about Saturday morning’s shooting is asked to call Nashville Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.