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Club where DIMEBAG was killed gets demolished

10-12-2021

The Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, where PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was murdered 17 years ago has officially been demolished. Plans are afoot to build a 180-unit fully affordable apartment community on the site where Dimebag and three other people were killed by a 25-year-old ex-Marine named Nathan Gale.

Located at 5055 Sinclair Avenue, Sinclair Apartments will address the need for high-quality affordable housing for Columbus-area residents earning between 30 and 70 percent of the area median income. The site will be transformed into a community of three-building, four-story apartments consisting of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units.

In addition to providing high-quality rental options for Columbus-area residents, Sinclair Apartments will improve the streetscape on Sinclair Avenue where Alrosa Villa once stood and is supported by local neighborhood association leaders.

In December 2019, Alrosa Villa was listed for sale for $1,295,000, including the 10,000-square-foot building, two lots totaling 7.2 acres, the liquor license, bar and equipment.

On the night of December 8, 2004, Gale charged onstage at the packed nightclub and opened fire on the band and crowd, before being killed himself by police officer James D. Niggemeyer, who arrived on the scene minutes after Gale began his rampage.

According to The Pulse Of RadioGale seemed to deliberately target Abbott, leading to speculation that the young man, who had a history of mental illness, held a grudge against Abbott and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, for the break-up of PANTERA in 2002. Columbus police closed their investigation in October of 2005 without establishing a motive for the shootings.

Dimebag’s death was a devastating blow to the close-knit hard rock and metal community. He was known to his fellow musicians for his hospitality, friendship and partying spirit, and was a legend among fans and peers for his powerful, innovative and unmistakable playing style.

Vinnie Paul sued Alrosa Villa over his brother’s death. The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2007 for what was described at the time as a nominal amount.

“What happened here on Dec. 8, 2004, was a tragedy for everyone and our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Alrosa Villa’s then-manager Rick Cautela said in a statement issued after Vinnie Paul’s lawsuit was dismissed. “There is nothing we could have done to stop it.”

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the lawsuit said the Cautela family, which owned and operated Alrosa Villa at the time of Dimebag’s murder, was negligent in not stopping Gale from entering the club with a gun and ammunition.

Gale jumped a fence surrounding a patio outside the club as DAMAGEPLAN began playing its first song. He then walked through the crowd and entered the stage from behind a stack of amplifiers. He pulled a handgun and shot Abbott in the head, then turned the gun on those who tried to intervene.

DAMAGEPLAN crew member Jeffrey Thompson, club security guard Erin Halk and audience member Nathan Bray also were killed. Band manager Christopher Paluska and band technician John Brooks were wounded.

The carnage ended when Niggemeyer entered the club through a rear door and fatally shot Gale as Gale held a gun to Brooks’s head.

Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. He was buried next to his brother and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas.

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