On December 8, 2004, while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Abbott was shot onstage by Nathan Gale. Abbott was shot five times, including once in the head, killing him instantly. Damageplan's drum technician, John "Kat" Brooks, and tour manager, Chris Paluska, were injured. The killer fired a total of fifteen shots, taking the time to reload once and remaining silent throughout the shooting. To avoid being injured or killed himself, Abbott's brother and bandmate, Vinnie Paul, was taken to the bar/kitchen on the other side of the club. Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, the band's head of security, was also killed in the incident while engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the killer. Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk was killed after charging the killer after running out of bullets, expecting the killer to reload more slowly than he actually did. Audience member Nathan Bray was killed while trying to perform CPR on Dimebag and Mayhem..
Brooks scuffled with the killer onstage but was overpowered and taken hostage in a headlock position. Brooks was shot several times (once in the right hand, his right leg, and his right side) while attempting to get the gun away from the killer. Five police officers came in the front entrance, led by Officer Rick Crum, and moved toward the stage. Officer James D. Niggemeyer came in through the back door, behind the stage. The killer only saw the officers in front of the stage; he never saw Officer Niggemeyer. Niggemeyer armed with a 12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun approached the killer from the opposite side of the stage, to avoid hitting the hostage Niggemeyer fired a single shot striking the killer in the face. the killer was found to have 35 rounds of ammunition remaining. Nurse and audience member Mindy Reece, 28, went to the aid of Abbott. She and another fan administered CPR until paramedics arrived, but were unable to revive him.
In May 2005, Officer Niggemeyer testified before the Franklin County grand jury, which is routine procedure in Franklin County after a police shooting. The grand jury did not indict Niggemeyer, finding that his actions were justified. Niggemeyer received a commendation from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission for his outstanding police work in time of crisis as well as the National Rifle Association award as 2005 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The five other officers that were first on the scene received Ohio distinguished law enforcement medals for their efforts. In 2006 James Niggemeyer penned the foreword to a book written about the event A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa.
Early theories of motive suggested that the killer may 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 the killer believed Abbott had stolen a song the killer had written. In the A Vulgar Display Of Power book, several of the killer's personal writings, given to the author by the killer's mother, suggest that the gunman was not angry about Pantera's breakup or about a belief that Pantera had "stolen songs"; instead, the documents suggest that the killer's paranoid schizophrenia caused delusions that the band could read his mind, and that they were "stealing" his thoughts and laughing at him.
Abbott's grave is located at the Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas. He is buried alongside his mother. He was buried with Eddie Van Halen's Charvel Hybrid VH2 - a black and yellow Frankenstrat guitar, also known as "Bumblebee," that was pictured with Van Halen on the cover of the album Van Halen II - because Dimebag had asked for one in 2004, shortly before he was shot. He was buried in a KISS Kasket.
[QUOTE]In the rock world, December 8 tends to be remembered as the day that Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times outside of his apartment building in New York City, killing the former Beatle and ending a musical era. But fans of heavy music hold today as the anniversary of an equally senseless tragedy. On this day in 2004, former Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot and killed while on stage playing guitar with his band Damageplan in Columbus, Ohio. The shooter, a guy named Nathan Gale who also killed three other people at the venue, was shot and killed by police at the scene. It's uncertain what Gale's reasoning was for the attack, though investigators later found that he was a paranoid schizophrenic whose journals suggested that he was deeply disturbed and was convinced Dimebag was stealing his thoughts.
The legacy of "Dimebag" Darrell cannot be understated. As a founding member of Pantera, he shed the band's initial glam metal sound and married good old-fashioned Sabbath stomp with a swampy hint of Southern rock and a bit of Texas hardcore, resulting in a stew of buzzsaw guitar riffs and psychedelic solos. Abbot's guitar work — combined with the band's rhythmic stomp and singer Phil Anselmo's primal growl — made Pantera an extremely popular and highly influential pack of headbangers. Starting with 1990's Cowboys From Hell, they created a body of work that was top-notch, right through their breakup in 2003. Just listen to the savagery contained within songs like "5 Minutes Alone" and "Revolution is my Name" for a peek into the world of one of metal's greatest bands.[/QUOTE]
Dime was killed, onstage, while performing. One of his tour crew was killed, a venue employee was killed and an audience member who was performing CPR was also, unbelievably, shot...while trying to save a life.