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Mother of Dimebag's Murderer Speaks Up

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 @ 3:30 PM


Mother of Dimebag's Murderer S

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From NBC4 – Columbus, OH:

Nightclub Shooter's Mother Talks About Son
'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott, Others Died In Nightclub Shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As a slain guitarist's fans gathered in Texas to honor their favorite performer, a mother mourned in private in Ohio, knowing that her son is responsible for four deaths, NBC 4's Holly Hollingsworth reported.

Thousands of people turned out for a memorial Tuesday for "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who was shot and killed Dec. 8 along with three other people at his band Damageplan's concert at Alrosa Villa in Columbus. Nathan Gale committed the murders, and was killed himself by a policeman during the incident.

Meanwhile, funeral plans and the burial site of Gale, 25, of Marysville, are shrouded in secrecy.

Gale's mother, Mary Clark, spoke exclusively Wednesday with NBC 4 about her son and the incident that unfolded last week.

The one thing Clark repeated over and over was her apology to the victims and the families left behind, Hollingsworth reported.

Clark said Gale lives in her memory as a beloved son.

"We were pretty close," Clark said.

Clark confirmed to NBC 4 that her son suffered from a mental illness. She said he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic last year when he was sent home from the Marine Corps on an early medical discharge.

"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.

Gale hardly talked with his mother about the diagnosis after that, Hollingsworth reported.

"I don't know if he was afraid to, or ... ashamed to, or ... didn't believe it himself," Clark said.

Clark said her son's fixation on the band Pantera peaked about eight years ago when he was in high school.

"He had it in his head that those were his lyrics," Clark said of Pantera's music. "And nobody was going to change his mind."

Clark said she told her son it was nonsense. She said he had not brought up the band to her in the years since.

Clark said that while Gale was fixated on Pantera in high school, Clark thought that problem stemmed from some drug issues, which she believed her son had since worked through.

"It seemed like he ... he put it out of his mind," Clark said. "It seemed like, OK, everything was better."

It was only with last week's shooting that Clark realized everything was not better, Hollingsworth reported.

"Maybe I wasn't looking for it," Clark said. "Maybe I wasn't in tune, you know? I should have been looking for signs, and I didn't."

But to Officer James Niggemeyer, who she says had no choice but to shoot and kill her son, she said thanks.

"I commend that man for saving the lives of others," Clark said.

Perhaps the greatest weight on Clark's heart and mind is what she knows about the handgun her son used in the shooting, Hollingsworth reported.

"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," Clark said. "And I bought him that gun. I'll never, never be able to live that part down."

Clark said Gale's mental health diagnosis came after the gun purchase.

Clark believed giving her son the gun was OK because he was a Marine and because he wanted to have a nice sidearm. She said she did not think he ever carried it.

Clark said she never saw any dangerous side to her son that might have made her try to get the gun back.

Clark has spent the past week searching for answers about why her son would kill, Hollingsworth reported.

"I have such remorse for those families, and I am so sorry that they are losing their loved ones," Clark said. "Their sons, brothers, fathers."

The only beginnings of answers Clark said she can offer come from notebooks she found in her son's apartment this week.

In one, Gale wrote that two things got him to where he is. One was that he "could not see [his] own thoughts".

"And the other is, 'Growing up not knowing my own thoughts,' " Clark said. "This is what I think paranoid schizophrenia really is."

Clark said she continues to struggle with what happened, and wonders what more she could have done.

"You don't know until you're there," she said. "Until somebody's sitting here, with their son, doing something so horrific. They'll never know."

Stay with NBC 4 and nbc4i.com for continuing coverage.

(Thanks to Imotorhead for the tip!)


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