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Fans tried to aid musician after attack

Sun., Dec. 12, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mourners attended a funeral Saturday for one of the four victims of a nightclub shooting, a fan of “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott who a witness said had tried to save the heavy-metal guitarist.

While most concertgoers rushed for the exits after Abbott was shot by a longtime fan of his former group, Pantera, Nathan Bray jumped up on stage, held Abbott and tried to perform CPR, said Adam Vanover, 45, of Bellefontaine.

“When (Bray) looked up at the shooter that’s when the shooter shot him,” Vanover said.

Witnesses and police said a group of people tried to help those who had been shot after Abbott’s band Damageplan began playing at Alrosa Villa on Wednesday night. Police shot and killed the gunman, Nathan Gale, 25, of Marysville.

About 200 people attended a private, two-hour service Saturday for Bray, 23, at a funeral home in his hometown of Circleville, about 30 miles south of Columbus.

“He’ll be in my heart forever,” family friend Sherri Jordan said afterward.

Another concertgoer, Billy Clark of New Carlisle, told the Springfield News-Sun that after Abbott was shot, he jumped a railing and tried to pull the guitarist to safety, but he heard more gunfire and hid behind speakers.

Clark said he and some friends moved Abbott behind the speakers and recruited others to carry him out of the club.

“I kept telling them that ‘Dime’ was still a target and we had to get him out of there,” Clark said.

He said he checked Abbott for a pulse but could not find one.

Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull confirmed that fans and others attended to the victims before emergency crews arrived, but he could not comment on what happened before police got there.

Gale also killed Erin Halk, 29, a club employee who loaded band equipment, and band bodyguard Jeff Thompson, 40.

A band employee injured in the shooting, drum technician John Brooks, was released from Riverside Hospital on Friday. Tour manager Chris Paluska was in stable condition.


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