Damageplan Homicide Probe Continues

Columbus, Ohio, police have yet to close the investigation into the December 8th shooting spree that claimed four lives at the Alrosa Villa nightclub.

Nathan Gale, 25, shot and killed Damageplan guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others before being gunned down by police. The former Marine, who had allegedly been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, previously told his mother he believed Abbott’s former band, Pantera, was stealing his song lyrics.

Summaries of nearly 300 witness interviews obtained by The Columbus Dispatch reveal concert-goers’ confusion about who was shot first.

According to the police report, Damageplan tour manager Chris Paluska said he was hit first although some witnesses thought Abbott was the first victim. Paluska said that after being shot, he was helped to the side of the stage where he saw Gale shoot Abbott in the head three times.

Stage technician John Brooks, who was taken hostage by Gale, told police he didn’t hear Officer James Niggemeyer fire the shot that killed Gale but escaped when the gunman relaxed his grip.

Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, Dimebag’s brother, said he hid behind some amplifiers and then escaped out a back door as the obsessed Pantera fan was reloading his 9 mm handgun. Singer Patrick Lachman, with the mic in his hand, screamed for someone to call police as he jumped out of the way.

One concert-goer told police she saw Gale climb the fence on the club’s patio with the help of three patrons, then hurry past a security guard who tried to prevent him from entering.

Also killed were Jeff Thompson, 40, a bodyguard for the Dallas-based band; Erin Halk, 29, who worked for the club loading band equipment; and fan Nathan Bray, 23.