‘Made you feel special’: Man killed by stray bullet during shootout was husband, father

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a beloved DJ, father, and husband died during a shooting at an apartment complex in Steele Creek Saturday morning.

CMPD said their officers heard shots fired at around 3 a.m. and headed toward the sound. They went to an apartment complex on Hillgrove Lane, which is off Steele Creek Road and just north of Westinghouse Boulevard.

When they arrived, police said they found several shell casings in the parking lot and James Freiberg, 48, inside his apartment with life-threatening injuries. Paramedics confirmed he died there.

>> LINK: GoFundMe for Freiberg’s wife and children. Click here to donate.

Investigators believe Freiberg was hit by a stray bullet that flew inside his apartment after two groups of people started shooting at each other in the apartment’s parking lot. Police said he did not know the two groups. Freiberg, who served in the U.S. Marines, was a well-known DJ in the Queen City. A GoFundMe has already raised more than $40,000 for his wife and two children.

No arrests have been made in the case, but police are looking for a suspect.

‘Brightened every room he stepped foot in’

Many people remember Jimmy Freiberg as the DJ and manager of Dixie’s Tavern. It was a popular spot that used to sit at 7th Street in uptown Charlotte. For years, Freiberg was a huge part of Charlotte’s nightlife.

Friends and family say he liked to have a good time, and many knew him as “DJ Jazzy Jimmy.”

He’s played at restaurants and clubs all across Charlotte -- from Rooftop 210 in the EpiCentre to Dixie’s Tavern, which was a popular spot in the 2000s. Charlotte Councilmember Larken Egleston knew him while working in hospitality.

“He’s DJed for just every place in Charlotte that’s been open for the last 20 years,” Egleston said. “He was kind of the sound track to a lot of nights of our 20s and early 30s, lots of great memories with him. Hard to believe there won’t be any more.”

A GoFundMe has already raised more than $40,000 for Freiberg’s wife and two kids. His wife, Vanessa, sent Channel 9′s Gina Esposito a statement that said the following:

“He was a family man who loved sports. He brightened every room he stepped foot in. Never met a stranger. He challenged people to be the best version of themselves. Nothing gave him more joy than his kids and wife. He is the person who knew everyone.

“-Vanessa A Freiberg”

In addition to working for various bars and restaurants in Charlotte, Freiberg also worked in real estate and served in the Marine Corps. No matter what he did, Egleston said he did it with joy.

“His smile, his positive energy, attitude. Every time you saw him, he made you feel special. He made it seem like he was excited to see you,” Egleston said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective. Detective Jones is the lead detective assigned to this case. Information can also be left anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or by clicking here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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