The case of

Darrell Abbott

Victim

Darrell Abbott

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth

1966-08-20

Victim Age

38

Date Reported

2004-12-08

Date of Death

2004-12-08

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Body Location

Columbus, Ohio, USA

Date of Conviction
Body Discovered Date

2004-12-08

Murderer

Nathan Gale

Darrell Abbott, an accomplished metal guitarist

Darrell Lance Abbott, known as Dimebag Darrell or Dimebag Darrell, was an American musician who became very popular for being part of the beginnings of the band Pantera, which became one of the most important in the world of music, especially rock.

Darrell Abbott was one of the band’s founders and, on many occasions, was recognized as one of the best metal guitarists in the industry.

He was born on August 20, 1966, in Texas and grew up in a very musical family, as his father was a country music composer. For years, Darrell Abbott had the opportunity to see important musicians up close, and although he was interested in playing drums in his early days, he found his true passion in guitar playing.

From a very young age, Darrell Lance took part in statewide electric guitar competitions and was so talented that he won them all, to the point that they wouldn’t let him participate later because he always took first prize.

Darrell Abbott’s first success came when he and his brother Vincent Abbott founded a metal band they called Pantera. The band began to break into the rock scene in 1980 and gradually gained recognition playing with other well-known bands such as Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Kiss, among others.

Ten years passed for Pantera to achieve its first success and it was thus that Darrell, together with his brother Vinnie Paul, toured the world and recorded several albums that made them, even until now, one of the most important and representative bands of metal.

By 2003, the band began to have problems among its members, so they decided to take a break. It was a year later that Darrell and Vinnie Abbott formed a new band called Damageplan, with a style very similar to Pantera’s but with a new sound thanks to the new members.

Everything seemed to be going very well with the band and Darrell’s personal life; however, on December 8, 2004, during a concert with his band at a club called Alrosa Villa in Ohio, a man shot him while on stage minutes after the show started.

That was the last concert of Darrell Abbott, who died on stage.

Dimebag Darrell didn’t know that night would be his last concert.

After having overcome the breakup of Pantera, Darrell Abbott was focused on his career with his band Damageplan, with which, in 2004, he had several presentations in different nightclubs during two months in Ohio.

Dimebag Darrell, as some of his friends called him, was very happy, as well as his brother Vinnie Abbott of the success that they were having in their tour and of the acceptance of their fans, who had bought tickets for all their presentations.

On the night of December 8, 2004, they had a performance at Alrosa Villa. Several bands played before Damageplan, and both Darrell and his brother Vinnie Paul were able to enjoy the other shows while sharing with some bandmates and fans.

The concert was attended by approximately 400 people, although the venue had a capacity of up to 600.

After the opening bands finished playing their repertoire, it was Damageplan’s turn. Both Darrell and Vinnie Abbott got on stage to prepare their instruments, as did the rest of the band.

The show began and within seconds of the first song, an unknown man, who was later identified as Nathan Gale, circumvented stage security, climbed on stage with a gun and shot Darrell at point blank range, and then began shooting at other people.

During the shooting, this man killed four people, including Dimebag, and wounded two others.

The night of the shooting

On the night of December 8, 2004, the band Damageplan was waiting their turn to close out a night of concerts at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. The band was coming off a successful two-month tour of the state.

Several Pantera fans gathered that night to see their former members play in this new band.

Darrell Abbott, along with his brother Vincent, were the most anticipated by the fans, as they followed him from their careers with Pantera and wanted to support them in this new musical project.

While the other bands played, Nathan Gale, 25 years old, was outside the club for at least 3 hours. Several members of the club’s security staff even approached him and asked him to remove his car from the place, as it was blocking the way of other vehicles.

After the three warnings, Nathan Gale moved his car to the back of the club, right next to the truck where Damageplan’s technical equipment and instruments had been moved.

As the band was minutes away from starting the show, Nathan Gale got out of his vehicle and approached the door where the audience was entering and exiting the stage.

Security personnel had already seen him as suspicious, as he had approached to ask if Darrell and his brother were there. However, he was able to enter through the door by taking advantage of the entrance of one of the technicians as if he were another staff member.

As he entered, he got a wooden wall that prevented him from moving any further, so he scaled it and jumped over it to get closer to the stage. One of the security guards noticed that he had entered, and chased him, but could not prevent him from climbing onto the stage.

Nathan Gale climbed up the left side of the stage and armed with a Beretta M9 grabbed Darrell Abbott by the shoulder and then shot him 3 times in the back of the head and once in the hand. Dimebag Abbott fell dead on his guitar.

After that, he started shooting at those who tried to stop him and the rest of the people in the venue. That’s how he killed 3 more people who were present that night.

During the shooting, he killed Nathan Bray, a fan who was in the audience, Jeffrey Thompson, the band’s security guard, and Erin Halk, a club worker.

Two other people were injured.

The club was in total chaos; people were screaming and trying to get out of the place. Someone called 911 to report the shooting, and one of the police officers who was near the area was ordered to come to the club.

Once he arrived, frightened people pointed out to him where the perpetrator was. As he approached the scene, Nathan Gale was holding one person hostage while pointing his gun at the others, while others were trying to give first aid to Darrell who was lying on the stage.

The officer entered the club without waiting for backup and approached backstage, where Nathan was waving his gun at the crowd. The officer crept up behind Nathan Gale’s back and then shot him in the face.

The shooter fell dead on the scene.

Nathan Gale: The shooter, an obsessed fanatic

Nathan Gale was born on September 11, 1979, in Ohio, USA. For a time, he was addicted to drugs and was constantly in and out of jobs. In view of his drug problems and unemployment, his mother allowed him to live with her again as long as he entered a rehabilitation program.

Gale was part of the U.S. Marines, served in the military for a few years, and was even given a gun by his own mother, the same gun he used to murder Darrell Abbott that night.

He had been a Pantera fan since he was in high school to the point of obsession, and would even show some of the band’s songs to other friends, telling them that he had written them.

Gale’s mother, after the murders, stated that her son suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had been discharged from the U.S. Marines for that reason.

Although neither his mother nor some of his friends were surprised by what had happened, Gale already had a criminal record. However, none of the crimes were linked to acts of violence.

Investigation Details

After the murders, investigations into the shooter’s background began. It was discovered that Nathan Gale was a Pantera fan. Basically, he was obsessed with the band and their breakup felt to him like a love breakup.

His friends and family were interviewed and none of them expected that Nathan could be a violent person, much less dare to murder someone.

His mother was interviewed twice. She was very shocked by what happened, regretted the deaths, but also felt pain for the end her son met that night.

One of Nathan Gale’s friends was also interviewed, however, he did state that no one wanted to be friends with Nathan.

Prior to Nathan Gale’s funeral, police ruled out any drugs in his system or alcohol.

Trial

Nathan Gale, who was responsible for the murders, was shot and killed by police the same night of the murders, so no trial or sentencing took place.

Frequently asked questions

What song was Dimebag playing when he was shot?

On the night of the murder, the band began playing their first song called Breathing New Life.

Who Killed Dimebag Darrell Abbott?

Dimebag Darrell was killed by Nathan Gale, a fan of the band.

What Happened to Nathan Gale?

Nathan Gale was shot by a police officer.

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