Lee Carter was mowing the lawn of the beige stucco Manchester Square home he’s lived in for more than four decades Friday when he heard pops.
His grandson, who had been moving his car out of the driveway and onto the street, had been shot multiple times. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he later died.
Now his family and the music industry are mourning the killing of music producer Leslie Andre Wakefield Jr., 26, known as DJ Official. Wakefield worked with artists Ty Dolla Sign, Tyga, Cardi B and others. His family said he was a father to a newborn son.
On Tuesday afternoon, his mother, Vera Carter, sat quietly on her front porch asking: Why?
“I want to know who killed my son,” she said. “They just took my world.”
Wakefield was sitting in his car with a friend in the 1900 block of West 78th Street at about 4 p.m. when police said a light-colored sedan drove by and a person inside shot at them. Both men were wounded — Wakefield fatally. The other man is expected to survive.
Police said no suspects have been identified.
Wakefield got his start in music by DJing parties with his friends in high school. After graduating in 2010, he began working with rapper Joe Moses and the two went on three U.S. tours together.
“He was my producer, but over the years he became one of my best friends,” Moses said.
What stood out to Moses about Wakefield was his dogged work ethic.
“He wasn’t someone who didn’t know what he wanted to do in life,” Moses said. “He just wanted to make music to help take care of his family.”
As Wakefield became more popular, he never let fame go to his head, his friends and family said. He worked on Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy,” which won this year’s Grammy for best rap album, his family said.
He signed with 10 Summers Records, founded by DJ Mustard, the label confirmed. He was earning more royalties from his work and hired a lawyer to help him navigate the legal hazards of the music industry, his mother said.
“This was his time to shine and somebody took it away from him,” Vera Carter said.
In one of his last Instagram posts, Wakefield mourned the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose death also shocked the music industry. Wakefield’s family said he had worked with Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, shortly before he was shot in front his Hyde Park clothing store on March 31.
Ty Dolla Sign wrote an emotional post on Instagram about Wakefield, calling him “a father, a successful producer, a solid homie who meant a lot to all of us.”
DJ Mustard also paid his respects on social media, saying in a recent post that Wakefield, “wasn’t trying to do the right thing, he was doing the right thing.”
Vera Carter described their family neighborhood “close knit.”
“Everyone can’t understand, why would someone want to do something like this,” she said.
Her son’s routine was simple, his mother said. Wakefield spent most of his time working in the studio and hanging out with his girlfriend and son, who was born Jan. 30.
Arri Flournoy has known Wakefield since high school when he played music at parties. Each day after leaving her job, she comes to the scene of the shooting to pay her respects, tending to the growing tributes left by fans and organizing candles to spell out “DJ Official.”
The two were planning a joint birthday party next month, when Wakefield would have turned 27.
When he became more well-known, he didn’t leave his group of high school friends behind, Flournoy said. “If anything, he was taking us with him.”
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