Officer Who Took Out DIMEBAG's Killer Talks About Deadly Nightclub Shootings

May 10, 2005

Ohio's NBC 4 is reporting that a Columbus police officer talked publicly for the first time about a deadly shooting at an Ohio nightclub which claimed the lives of five people, including PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

Officer James Niggemeyer was the first officer to arrive at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in December after a gunman killed four people and took another hostage at a DAMAGEPLAN concert.

With no backup, Niggemeyer did what he felt was necessary to save lives. He fired one shot and killed Nathan Gale, who was on stage and still had the hostage locked in his arms.

"You just hope you never are involved in something like this," Niggemeyer said of the incident.

Killed in the shooting were: Abbott, 38; Nathan Bray, 23, of Grove City; Erin Halk, 29, of Columbus; Jeff Thompson, 40, of Texas; and Gale, 25.

Niggemeyer said he didn't know much about what was going on when he entered the nightclub.

"We just knew what we were being told on the radio," he said. "You always hope you can get there quicker, save more lives."

Many praised Niggemeyer for his actions. While the nightclub has reopened after renovations and bands once again take the stage, the officer said a day doesn't go when he doesn't think of that deadly December night.

"I remember the names of all five of the victims that night," Niggemeyer said. "I remember the date. I remember everything really well, and I'm sure I'll never forget it."

Niggemeyer said he has received e-mails from around the world since the incident.

"A lot of the e-mails were saying, you know, they were heavy metal rockers, and they never got along with police in the past," Niggemeyer said. "And this really changed their view on how police are now where they live and how they treat police now. And I think that's great."

When asked if he would do it again, he said, "Absolutely, if I had to."

Niggemeyer is one of eight finalists for a bravery award provided by "America's Most Wanted". They were chosen from thousands of nominations from across the nation.

People can vote to determine the winner on the "America's Most Wanted"web site.

The winner will be announced May 28.

"Nobody wants to really glorify what we have to do, but it's nice that somebody recognizes positive aspects of law enforcement and firefighting," Niggemeyer said.

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