Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell (born Darrell Abbott) was shot dead at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, last night. Soon after the band began playing, a gunman charged the stage and began firing at the band and into the crowd. Three others were killed before a police officer fatally shot the gunman. Abbott, 38, was formerly a member of Texas thrash metal giants Pantera.
The shooter — identified as Nathan Gale, 25, of Marysville, Ohio — dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and hockey jersey, jumped onstage at about 10 p.m., just as Damageplan were beginning their first song. Gale then shot Abbott in the chest five or six times at close range and then turned his gun on the crowd of hundreds. Among those killed were fan Nathan Bray, 23, and Erin Halk, 29, who was either a fan or band employee — the third victim and two wounded, currently at Riverside Methodist Hospital, have not yet been named.
District patrol officer James D. Niggemeyer, 31, responded within minutes to the call about shooting inside the club, entering through the back door to investigate. The officer then fatally shot the gunman, who at the time was holding an unidentified hostage by the neck.
Approximately 250 out of the 450 audience members (the club holds approximately 600) are currently being questioned by police. Amateur video was also shot during the show, but investigators have not yet determined whether any of the incident was caught on tape.
Formed in early 2003 soon after the breakup of Pantera, Damageplan also includes singer Patrick Lachman, bassist Bob Zilla and Abbott’s brother, ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul. Their debut album, New Found Power, was released last February.