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R.I.P Dimebag Darrell

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Pantera Guitarist Killed on Stage

A gunman charged onstage at a packed nightclub and opened fire on the band and crowd, killing top heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three other people before a police officer shot him to death, authorities and witnesses said.

Police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio identified three of the victims of Wednesday's shooting as Abbott, who played for the band Damageplan, and two other men, Nathan Bray and Erin Halk.

She identified the gunman as Nathan Gale, 25, of the Marysville area northwest of Columbus. She said there was no information on a motive or if he had any connection to the band.

Damageplan had just begun its first song at Alrosa Villa when the man shot Abbott five or six times at point-blank range, a witness said.

Abbott, 38, one of metal's top guitarists, and his brother, Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, were original members of Grammy-nominated thrash rock pioneers Pantera, a popular metal band in the 1990s.

The witness, 22-year-old Chris Couch, said he was standing about 30 feet from the stage when he saw a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt walk up to the stage, followed by a bouncer and another club employee.

The man in the sweatshirt climbed onto the stage, started yelling and opened fire on the guitarist, then shot a bouncer who pulled him off the musician, Couch said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull said that after shooting at band members, the gunman fired into the crowd. Mull said the gunman was shot and killed by a police officer who arrived shortly after the shooting began.

"If the officer wasn't as close as he was, I think this would have been a lot worse," Mull said. "It was a chaotic scene, just a horrific scene."

Mercurio said the officer who killed the suspect was patrolling nearby when he heard the call about the shooting. He entered the club through a back door and was directed to the stage, where he saw one person lying dead and the suspect holding onto another person, Mercurio said. The officer shot and killed the suspect.

The name of the fifth person killed was not immediately released. Mercurio said family members were still being notified.

Thursday morning, a dozen yellow roses, still in plastic wrap, lay near the entry to the low-slung beige building that since 1974 has hosted mostly heavy metal acts. The club, just off a freeway exit on the city's north side, sits amid motels, small businesses and office complexes.

After the shooting began, Couch and a friend headed for the exit along with a tide of hundreds of fans.

"It was definitely a grudge. It was against something," Couch said.

Amanda Stankus, 19, who attended the show with Couch, said she initially thought the shooting was part of the show. "I just saw the guitarist fall down, and we decided to get out of there," she said.

The Abbott brothers produced Damageplan's debut album, "New Found Power," which was released in February. Other band members are vocalist Patrick Lachman and bassist Bob Zilla.

"Damageplan carries on the tradition Pantera started, the ... hell-raising tradition we were all about," Vinnie Paul Abbott told The Dallas Morning News in October. "We do play some Pantera songs. Me and Dime wrote them, and we feel like we have the right to play them. But the focus is on Damageplan.


"It took a while for some of the Pantera fans to accept it; we knew that was gonna be the case," he said. "Change is something that people have a hard time accepting. But me and Dime intended on doing this our whole lives."

A message left with Atlantic Records, which oversees the record label on which Damageplan records, was not immediately returned.

Damageplan's Web site said Darrel and Vinnie Abbott grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area where their father, country songwriter Jerry Abbott, owned a recording studio.

Telephone numbers for both Darrell and Jerry Abbott are unlisted and could not be reached early Thursday by The Associated Press.

Pantera, known for its brutally hard, fast and aggressive sound, recorded four albums in the 1990s. They attracted a massive cult following and the band's third release, "Far Beyond Driven," debuted at No. 1 in 1994, surprising chart-watchers and critics alike.

Pantera was nominated for Grammys for best metal performance in 1995 for "I'm Broken" and in 2001 for "Revolution Is My Name." The video "The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits," made charts earlier this year as one of the top 10 in music video sales.

Dozens of messages were posted to the Dallas band's Web site after the shootings.

"This is the worst day in metal history," one posting read.

"The metal world feels your pain," another wrote.


This hits a little hard for me, I basically grew up listening to Pantera - Dimebag you will be missedlhdevil.gif

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Man, I don't know if it will be the same, I probably need some time to recover first. I have been a fan of Dime for over a decade. I love Dean guitars because I saw him play them.

Was Vinnie onstage with him? He must be broken.

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I hope that Vinnie wasn't on stage with him but he probably was, It would be hard enough to find out your brother was killed, but to be there when it happened would be so much worse. At least I would think it would.

I wonder how Rex and Phil are taking the news. :(

I'm sure there will be more news soon enough.

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According to my local news, they said that the guy who did this was mad because he thought that Dimebag had something to do with the breakup of his band.

He supposedly jumped over an 8 foot barrier between the floor and the stage and exchanged words with the band members before he started shooting.

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From the AP WIRE:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It looked like something out of a macabre heavy-metal video: The lights dimmed in the smoke-filled nightclub, the rock band Damageplan launched into its first thunderous riffs, and then a man in a hooded sweatshirt ran the length of the stage and opened fire, shooting the lead guitarist at least five times in the head.

The slain guitarist, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, 38, was a driving force behind the rock band Pantera, and police are looking into reports from witnesses that the gunman was a fan irate that the hugely influential group broke up.


Geez. The guy shot him 5 times in the head because he blamed Dime for breaking up Pantera. What a friggin nut. I'm still shocked...


The shootings came on the 24th anniversary of perhaps the most well-known assassination of a rock star - that of former Beatle John Lennon outside his New York City apartment in 1980.

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Yeah, and I definitely would have been up front in the pit...

I also read that that the person that the guy was holding hostage was actually Vinnie Paul, Dime's brother... I wonder how he is handling it... that is some crazy sh*t to have to deal with.

Both Pantera and DamgePlan's websites have been down, or had the content removed... I was hoping to get some kinda statement from Phil Anselmo, and Rex... maybe it's still too soon...

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