Two days before he was to perform at a memorial for a fellow motorcyclist who died in a collision with a Minneapolis police SUV, a popular Dinkytown DJ drove his motorcycle off the road at dusk in southeastern Minnesota, struck a tree and died, authorities and friends said Wednesday.
Omari O. Omari, 32, of the dance DJ group Salsa Police, died about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday along Hwy. 60 southwest of Wabasha, according to the State Patrol. The motorcycle was heading east, ran off the two-lane highway and hit the tree before landing in a ditch, the patrol added. Omari was wearing a helmet.
At the time of his death, Omari, of Minneapolis, was a longtime late-night DJ at the Loring Pasta Bar in the Dinkytown district near the University of Minnesota.
He worked Friday and Saturday nights at the bar for at least the past seven years, said bar manager Joe Kennedy.
“He was the best Latin DJ in the Upper Midwest,” Kennedy said. “That’s not an exaggeration, either.”
While the Loring Pasta Bar was Omari’s dominant gig, he also worked out of state in Kansas City and elsewhere, Kennedy added.
Omari was booked to DJ a memorial fundraiser Thursday night in Minneapolis for Ivan Romero Olivares, the 24-year-old motorcyclist who was killed Friday when he collided with a police cruiser responding to a shooting in Uptown that left one man dead and two officers wounded.
The two motorcyclists not only knew each other but went on rides together, said Oscar Ramirez, a friend of Romero’s.
The fundraiser, at Las Mojarras at 1507 E. Lake St. at 7 p.m., will now be in the memory of both men, Ramirez said.
“We are gonna help Omari’s family if they need something,” Ramirez promised.
Gabriel Douglas, frontman of the rock band The 4onthefloor, said he hung out with Omari and his brothers at Salsa Police shows.
Omari “was always a super-energetic, joyful guy to be around,” Douglas said. “The whole family was that way and very tight. Blood runs thick with those guys.”
Byron Johnson, who co-manages Salsa Police, wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday that “the spotlight was given to [Omari] because of his talents not because he looked for it. ... He will be sorely missed.”
Omari also was about to become a father, said the family of Maria Paz Barrios, a Twin Cities model who is due to give birth to his daughter any day now. Omari and Barrios are no longer a couple, and he has since married.
Star Tribune staff writers Matt McKinney and Chris Riemenschneider contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482