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Concert killer was mentally ill, mother says

Memorial Service For "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott
Vinnie Paul Abbott holds a cardboard cutout of his brother, slain rocker "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, at a memorial service in Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday. Paul Buck / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

The mother of the man who gunned down former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others during a concert said her son was discharged from the military because he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Mary Clark told Columbus television station WCMH on Wednesday that her son, Nathan Gale, was released from the Marines in 2003 after the military diagnosed the disorder. Gale’s rampage ended last week when an officer shot him to death.

Clark, who asked the station not to show her face on camera, also said she bought the 9mm semiautomatic handgun used in the shooting for her son, before he was diagnosed, because she was proud of his military service.

‘I'll never ... live that part down’
“I’ll never, never be able to live that part down,” she said.

A photocopy of Nathan Gale's drivers license, released by Bears Den Tattoo Studio, is shown Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004, in Marysville, Ohio. Authorities have identified Gale as the gunman who charged onstage at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday night, Dec. 8, and opened fire on the band Damageplan killing guitaristBEARS DEN TATTOO STUDIO

Gale, 25, of Marysville, charged the stage at a show by Abbott’s new band, Damageplan, on Dec. 8 at the Alrosa Villa nightclub. He shot and killed four people, including Abbott, before police officer James D. Niggemeyer shot him to death.

Clark said Niggemeyer had no choice.

“I give that man credit,” Clark said. “You’ll never know how many lives he saved.”

Two others were wounded in the attack, including tour manager Chris Paluska, who remained hospitalized Wednesday in fair condition.

The shooting investigation is nearly complete, police said, but they may never know exactly why Gale opened fire.

Obsessed with Pantera
His mother said Gale was obsessed with Pantera, a popular, Grammy-nominated heavy metal band, and had a drug problem in high school. She said he believed the band had stolen song lyrics from him, a statement also made by some of Gale’s friends who have said Gale complained the band was trying to steal his identity.

In a separate interview, Gale’s former boss at an oil-change business said Gale acknowledged suffering from schizophrenia when he was hired in October 2003. The condition is characterized by delusions and hallucinations.

“I would always say, ‘Are you OK?’ Occasionally I’d ask him if he was taking his medication,” Rich Cencula, owner of Minut Lube in Marysville, told The Columbus Dispatch. “He always told me that he was.” He said Gale later quit because he needed more money and better hours.