The fatal shooting of Christina Grimmie brought back painful memories to members of Pantera, who lost their guitarist, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, in a similar incident more than a decade ago. Responding to the recent news on Sunday, the band posted a note on Facebook calling on club owners and promoters to do a better job keeping artists safe.
“We are so sad and disappointed to hear that Christina Grimmie was gunned down the same way that Dimebag Darrell was,” the note read. “After Dime’s murder, we all prayed that our industry (i.e. club owners & promoters) would do whatever they needed to do to protect artists from gun wielding fanatics. Sadly, that’s not the case and another rising star had to pay the consequences with her life. SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE! RIP Christina & RIP Dime, Jeff Thompson, Erin Halk, and Nathan Bray.”
Grimmie was shot to death in Orlando on Friday night as she was signing autographs at a meet and greet after her show at The Plaza Live. The gunman, identified by police as 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl, had traveled to Orlando with two handguns, several loaded magazines and a hunting knife. Orlando Police Chief John Mina told NBC News that while fans’ purses and backpacks are typically checked when they enter the venue, The Plaza Live has no metal detectors.
“We don’t know if he was just a crazy fan that followed her on Twitter or on social media,” a police spokeswoman said. “We really don’t know … it’s undetermined at this point.”
It was an obsessive fan who killed Abbott in 2004. The guitarist was performing with his new band, Damageplan, at a club in Columbus when a former Marine named Nathan Gale entered the club through a side door and fired a handgun at him. Gale also killed two crew members, a club employee, and another fan. Abbott’s family later sued the venue, saying that the club’s security had performed “horribly” and should have recognized Gale’s behavior before he got inside.
Even after Abbott’s murder, “precautions have not really been taken in the industry, and artists are at risk,” Paul Wertheimer, a veteran concert-security consultant who runs Crowd Management Strategies, told Rolling Stone in 2014. “Little has changed in a business where the biggest stars playing the most expensive concerts get the best security while cash-strapped clubs must simply hope no crazy people walk in bearing arms.”
Just a day after Grimmie’s death, Orlando was reeling from gun violence once again, after a man opened fire in a gay nightclub, killing 50 people and wounding dozens more.