Local News Station Looks Back at Dimebag Darrell Murder
Dec. 8, 2004 is a date that remains entrenched in the minds of many music fans as metal guitar great Dimebag Darrell was gunned down while performing onstage with his band Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa nightclub. In the wake of the recent Orlando shootings, local Columbus, Ohio, station WBNS 10 TV took a look back at horrific incident and spoke with some of those who had ties to that fateful night.
In the video above, the station speaks with the Alrosa Villa nightclub owner Rick Cautela, relatives of late security member Erin Halk and former Columbus police officer James Niggemeyer, the man who gunned down assailant Nathan Hale before he could harm others. In addition, there is video footage of Hale hopping onstage with his gun with security guard Jeff Thompson attempting to stop him, as well as audio of some of the first 911 calls.
"When people die like this you try to figure out why. And that was the biggest question, why?," stated Andy Halk, whose brother Erin was working security and died trying to stop Hale. Cautela says that Halk grabbed a speaker off the stage and rushed Hale, but the gunman turned and the bullets went right through the speaker.
Andy Halk says the recent Orlando shootings brought back the painful memories all over again. “I'm sure there were heroes in Orlando that we'll never know about because they were probably taken down. So, you try to keep that hope that people did try to stop the killer,” says Halk.
In the report, Cautela reveals the venue had a secret room with two metal doors and he was able to get about 35 people to safety, including drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. "This is the place where I took Dimebag's brother Vinnie Abbott and covered him up with a blanket," he said. "That night, although I had a gun, I didn't know who to go after. My job that night was to grab members of the band and bring them into a safe place."
Columbus Police Officer James Niggemeyer entered the club and eventually was the one to take down Gale, who had a hostage in a headlock at the time. However, the incident still haunts him to this day. The now former officer retired because he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is no longer qualified to be a first responder. “You don't have control of your brain. I am living proof that you have no control the nightmares and flashbacks and all the stuff that happens you can't shut it off,” says Niggemeyer.
Cautela says that after the death of Dimebag Darrell, most metal bands don't play the club anymore, but it was not out of fear. "The bands from out of town would not play here out of respect," he says. The owner reveals he may shut down the club within the year. If that happens, it would be the end of the longest continuously family-owned club in the country, one that was named after his father Al and mother Rosa.
You can watch an additional WBNS 10 TV interview specifically with Officer Niggemeyer about his life since the shooting below. And the station also has a photo gallery from the crime scene and from the investigation at Gale's home. We warn you there is some graphic content, so proceed at your own caution here.
Columbus' WBNS 10 TV Speaks With Former Police Officer James Niggemeyer
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