‘Dimebag’ Darrell’s murder remembered as one of music’s most heart-wrenching

CREDIT: Abbott's official Facebook page

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH/AP) — Tuesday marks 11 years since former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was shot and killed at the Alrosa Villa in north Columbus.

Abbott, who was performing that night with new band Damageplan, was remembered by peers and fans alike as an influential, genre-defining musician and a dear friend.

Billboard mentioned the shooting in its list of concert tragedies, which was written after the deadly terror attacks in Paris earlier this fall.

At the heavy metal concert, 25-year-old Nathan Gale killed four people, including Abbott, before a Columbus policeman shot and killed Gale.

Nearly 300 witness interviews released in 2005 showed people were confused about the sequence of the shootings at the Alrosa Villa nightclub.

Witnesses said Gale sneaked into the concert before opening fire with his 9mm handgun.

Christopher Paluska, Damageplan’s tour manager, said he was shot first — though it was previously believed Abbott was the initial victim.

Paluska was one of three people shot who survived. Another, stage technician John Brooks, wrestled with Gale who pinned him as a hostage as police moved toward the stage.

Officer James Niggemeyer then killed Gale with one shotgun blast while he was holding Brooks hostage. Brooks told investigators although he didn’t hear Niggemeyer fire at Gale, he felt Gale’s grip weaken and hurried off the stage.

A grand jury cleared Niggemeyer, 31, of any wrongdoing in May 2005. Gale still had 35 bullets left when killed, investigators said.

During the melee, Damageplan drummer Vincent Abbott hid behind amplifiers and lead singer Patrick Lachman jumped and screamed into the microphone for someone to call the police.

Gale’s mother has said her son was obsessed with Pantera — was nominated for Grammys for best metal performance in 1995 for “I’m Broken” and in 2001 for “Revolution Is My Name” — and believed the band had stolen song lyrics from him.

He previously told both his mother and a former employer that he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic before he was discharged from the Marines in October 2003, two years into a four-year stint. Military records do not mention mental illness as the reason for the discharge.

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