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Country singer dies after Tenn. bar shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A downtown bar owner told police he fatally shot a country music singer in self-defense on Saturday morning after the two got into an argument over the musician smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area, Nashville authorities said.

Pit and Barrel owner Chris Ferrell shot Wayne Mills, 44, around 5 a.m. Saturday, after the bar had closed, The Tennessean reports. Mills later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Police spokeswoman Kris Mumford said investigators are now looking into Ferrell's claim of self-defense. She said no arrests have been made. Ferrell had a valid handgun permit at the time of the shooting.

Michael Scott, who was among a group of friends with Mills, told WSMV-TV they attended a George Jones tribute concert Friday night and then went drinking at a couple of bars before the Pit and Barrel.

Mills, a native of Arab, Ala., toured with the Wayne Mills Band, and played college towns for more than 15 years. Country music stars Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton, as well as American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, all opened for the band in their early careers, according to the group's website.

Blake Shelton tweeted Saturday, “Extremely sad to hear about the death of my old friend Wayne Mills Rest in peace brother.”

Mills graduated from the University of Alabama with an education degree, and also played football for the school, according to the band's website.

The Tennessean reports Mills leaves behind a wife and a young son.