December 14, 2004

Ryan Horns of Marysville Journal-Tribune reports:

A phone rang unanswered all day Thursday in the empty Marysville apartment of the man who shot and killed four people at the Alrosa Villa music venue in Columbus.

People across the world are wondering who Nathan Gale is.

Gale, 25, of Marysville forced his way onstage at the Alrosa Villa nightclub Wednesday night and shot "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, 39, of the band DAMAGEPLAN and formerly PANTERA. He fired three to four bullets at Abbott's head during the first song of the night, in front of more than 200 people. The shooting of Abbott and three other victims has been called the worst thing to happen in heavy metal music history.

The Columbus Police Department has now released all the victims' names, including audience member Nathan Bray, 23, of Grove City, Erin Halk, 29, of Upper Arlington and Jeff Thompson, 40, a DAMAGEPLAN employee. Gale then threatened to shoot a hostage before he was fatally shot by Columbus police officer James D. Niggemeyer.

Searching for people in Marysville who knew Gale has led to an impression of his being a typical loner no one knew but one who reportedly was capable of being violent. Many people knew him but none knew him well. Columbus police reported that no one will ever know why Gale went to Alrosa Villa that night unless some type of note is discovered.

As recently as Dec. 1, Gale walked into Lee Dog's Locker Room in downtown Marysville and filled out an application to work as a bouncer. In the application, Gale described himself as a student of Benjamin Logan grammar school for two years, Marysville High School for two years and Ohio Hi-Point for two years. He wrote that he was a soldier in the United States Marine Corps and had a brown belt in judo.

Oddly enough, one week after trying to become a bouncer to protect patrons at Lee Dog's Locker Room, Gale would kill patrons and fight bouncers at the Alrosa Villa. Business owner Lee Alderson said the application was unsolicited and Gale was not hired.

In the application, Gale wrote he had been employed at Minit Lube from Oct. 30, 2003 until March of this year, was a landscaper with a company in Plain City from March to July of 2004 and more recently worked numerous odd jobs for Manpower.

Maggie's Restaurant waitress Emi Walden said she waited on Gale two weeks ago. He often came down from his upstairs apartment at 111 1/2 W. Fifth St. to eat.

"He was a big guy but he was very soft spoken," Walden said. "He was always very nice."

She said Gale came in and hung out, sitting on the floor and playing with toy cars with the children there. What she does know is that he always ate alone.

Gale made a different impression on the owners and patrons of the Bear's Den Tattoo Parlor across the street from his apartment. He often made people feel uncomfortable there by reportedly staring at them or forcing them into odd conversations.

Patron Travis Organ said Gale was always very interested in making friends with people who played guitar. That meant he spent a lot of time hanging around Bear's Den tattoo artist and guitar player, Bo Toler.

Toler said Thursday night that he may have been the last person to encounter Gale before the shooting. He said Gale came into the shop around 6 p.m. Wednesday as he had done on many other occasions.

"He was asking about how he could buy a tattoo machine," Toler said. "I told him it is illegal to own a tattoo machine without a license. He swore at me and starting shouting 'You're a liar.' Then he left with a lot of attitude. It was the first time I ever noticed his temper."

Toler said Gale used to hang out with him in his apartment.

"I used to play guitar for him," he said. "He told me he was a bass player long ago and that was about the only thing we could connect to."

Toler said he never really got to know Gale very well and that he never once mentioned PANTERA, nor did he ever talk about being in the military.

"He never really said much," Toler said. "I'm extremely disappointed.

At this point, I wish he was still alive so I could ask him why he did it. It's a big question mark."

Bear's Den co-owner Lucas Bender said he always tried to keep Gale's time in the shop brief. He said Gale gave people a weird feeling.

"He was always looking around at the floor and when you talked to him he would snap up quick and look surprised, like he was stepping out of some kind of trance," Bender said.

He said Gale would just be around for no reason and when he left people would ask, "What was up with that guy?"

Organ said he once witnessed a bit of Gale's obsession for the band PANTERA.

"One time I told him I hated PANTERA and he kicked me out of his apartment," Organ said.

Some Marysville residents may have their opinion of what kind of person Gale was and why he ended up killing four people at Alrosa Villa on Sinclair Road in Columbus.

However, the only people who may truly know why Gale did what he did is his immediate family. To date, Gale's mother and two brothers have not issued any statements.

(Thanks: Jason Bodak)

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