A week after her son shot and killed Damageplan guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others at a Columbus, Ohio, nightclub, Nathan Gale’s mother said that she gave him the gun he used in the murders.
“When he came home for Christmas the year he was in the service, I was so proud of that man for cleaning up his life the way he did,” Mary Clark told Columbus TV station NBC 4. “And I bought him that gun. I’ll never, never be able to live that part down.”
Gale, 25, took the stage on December 8 and used the semi-automatic pistol to shoot Abbott and three others at the Alrosa Villa rock club before being gunned down by a police officer after committing what is believed to be the first onstage murder of a rock musician in history (see “Dimebag Darrell, Four Others Killed In Ohio Concert Shooting” ).
Clark, who said she was close to her son, repeatedly apologized to the victims as she revealed to the station’s interviewer that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The diagnosis led to his medical discharge last year from the Marines after serving less than half of his four-year stint. She said she purchased the gun for him before his diagnosis.
“And I still didn’t understand the whole thing, but he came home with his medications, and I don’t know if he took them or not,” Clark said. “I don’t know if he was afraid to, or … ashamed to, or … didn’t believe it himself,” Clark said. “I have such remorse for those families, and I am so sorry that they are losing their loved ones. Their sons, brothers, fathers.”
While reports have surfaced that Gale once attempted to pass off Pantera lyrics as his own during a band practice with friends several years ago — fuming that he was going to sue the band for attempting to steal his identity — Clark said his fixation on the band reached its height when Gale was a teenager.
During high school, Clark said, “He had it in his head that those were his lyrics. And nobody was going to change his mind.” At the time, she chalked the obsession up to some “drug issues” he was having, she said without elaborating. Clark said she tried to convince her son that he was mistaken about the lyrics and he did not mention the band to her again.
“It seemed like he … he put it out of his mind,” Clark said. “It seemed like, OK, everything was better.”
She is keeping information about Gale’s funeral a secret, but Clark commended Columbus police officer James Niggemeyer for shooting her son and saving the lives of others. Abbott was buried in a private ceremony on Tuesday in his native Texas and a public memorial was held that night, featuring emotional tributes from Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde (see “Thousands Gather To Mourn Dimebag Darrell” ).
Clark said that she is still looking for clues about what led her son to kill, with one coming from a notebook she found in his apartment. Gale wrote that he felt like he “could not see [his] own thoughts” and about “growing up not knowing my own thoughts. This is what I think paranoid schizophrenia really is.”
Police have not yet found a motive for the killings.
For fans’ reactions to the death of Dimebag Darrell, check out You Tell Us.
For artists’ reactions, check out “Ozzy, Dave Mustaine, Jonathan Davis Remember Dimebag.”
Click here for more on the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell and the Ohio club shooting.