Jay Ramone & 92.7 The X would like to wish Dimebag Darrell Abbott a happy birthday. Dime would have been 47 years old.... His untimely passing is definitely felt today... His signature sound, the way he influenced other guitar players... In My eyes, the best there ever was...
On December 8, 2004, Abbott was shot onstage while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. The gunman, Nathan Gale, shot Abbott three times in the head using a handgun; the third shot killing him. Gale continued shooting, killing three others and wounding a further seven. Gale fired a total of fifteen shots, stopping to reload once and remaining silent throughout the shooting.
Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, the band's head of security, was killed tackling Gale, as was Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk. Audience member Nathan Bray was killed while trying to perform CPR on Abbott and Thompson. It was rumored that one crowd member leapt in front of the gunman, saving the lives of several band members. Damageplan drum technician, John 'Kat' Brooks, was shot three times as he attempted to get the gun away from Gale, but was overpowered and taken hostage in a headlock position. Tour manager Chris Paluska was also injured.
Seven police officers came in the front entrance, led by Officer Rick Crum, and moved toward the stage. Officer James Niggemeyer came in through the back door, behind the stage. Gale only saw the officers in front of the stage; he didn't see Officer Niggemeyer, who was armed with a 12 gauge shotgun. He approached Gale from the opposite side of the stage to avoid hitting the hostage and fired a single shot just as Gale looked towards Niggemeyer, striking Gale in the face with eight of the nine buckshot pellets, killing him instantly. Gale was found to have had 35 rounds of ammunition remaining.
Two fans administered CPR on Dimebag until paramedics arrived, but were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Early theories of motive suggested that Gale might have turned to violence in response to the breakup of Pantera, or the public dispute between Abbott and Pantera singer Phil Anselmo, but these were later ruled out by investigators. Another theory was that Gale believed Abbott had stolen a song that he had written. Gale was severely schizophrenic and had stopped taking his medication.
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