Mom: 'Dimebag' shooter was mentally ill
08:58 AM CST on Thursday, December 16, 2004
Nathan Gale COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Marines diagnosed a man who shot to death a heavy metal guitarist and three others at a concert with paranoid schizophrenia, his mother told a Columbus television station.
Mary Clark, whose face was obscured in the interview Wednesday with WCMH, said her son, 25-year-old Nathan Gale, was discharged early from the Marines in 2003 because of the mental illness, which is characterized by delusions and hallucinations.
Clark bought her son the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun she said was used in the shooting before he was diagnosed because she was proud of his military service.
"I'll never, never be able to live that part down," she said. Clark declined to be interviewed Thursday by The Associated Press.
Gale charged the stage at the Alrosa Villa nightclub on Dec. 8 and gunned down former Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three others before officer James D. Niggemeyer shot him to death. Two others were wounded.
"I give that man credit," Clark said about Niggemeyer. "You'll never know how many lives he saved."
Police Sgt. Brent Mull said Thursday that the department's investigation of the shooting is essentially over except for required evidence collecting when an officer shoots a suspect. Police say they may never know what made Gale target Abbott, who with brother and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott left thrash-metal pioneer Pantera and later formed Damageplan.
Clark said that her son was obsessed with Pantera and had a drug problem in high school. She also said he believed the band had stolen song lyrics from him. She and her son lived in Marysville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbus.
Gale came home with medication from the Marine for his illness, Clark said, but she did not know whether he took the pills.
Clark said she recovered some notebooks from Gale's apartment where he wrote he could not see his own thoughts.
Gale's former boss told The Columbus Dispatch that Gale acknowledged he had schizophrenia when he was hired.
"I would always say, 'Are you OK?' Occasionally I'd ask him if he was taking his medication and because we were friends, I felt I could do that," said Rich Cencula, owner of the Minut Lube in Marysville. "He always told me that he was."
Cencula said Gale showed him military papers that indicated he received a medical discharge on Oct. 23, 2003. He started working for Cencula four days later.
"He was a good and faithful employee for me," Cencula said.
Gale quit his job because he need more money and better hours, he said.