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Damageplan Shooting Calls Security Into Question

How did a guy with a 9mm stroll into a club, walk on stage and shoot the band? As a guy with a son in a metal band this is more than a rhetorical question. And what are clubs going to do about it, if anything?

    concert bookers and bar managers [are] wondering whether fans will grumble less the next time they’re patted down or directed through a metal detector.

    Scott Stienecker, for one, thinks it will. “It’ll be a whole different feeling, I bet.”

    Stienecker’s PromoWest Productions owns two Columbus concert halls larger than the Alrosa Villa, where 25-year-old Nathan Gale gunned down “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others before a police officer shot him to death.

    Caroline O’Toole, though, and many of her fellow managers doubt Wednesday’s violence will mean any significant changes.

    “I don’t think you can let the actions of one lunatic affect the industry as a whole,” said O’Toole, who manages The Stone Pony, famed as Bruce Springsteen’s stomping ground in Asbury Park, N.J. “You can’t let the nuts win.”

    ….”This is a very tragic situation, but isolated,” said Mark Leddy, co-owner of Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. “Anything like this causes everyone to take a little look at what their procedures are. A bigger mistake would be an overreaction to it.”

    But a San Diego police officer and security consultant argued for more training for the largely unregulated job of nightclub security worker.

    “They need the same type of training that police officers get,” Robert Smith said. “The bouncer has no weapon and no police powers, but they still have to do the same exact job. They don’t get the same training on how to read body language and how to stop someone verbally and how to calm someone down.”

    Concert deaths have spurred change before. Inspectors nationwide rooted out flammable soundproofing material in bars after on-stage pyrotechnics killed more than 100 people nearly two years ago at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island.

    It was only in August that the city of Cincinnati lifted a nearly 25-year ban on concert general admission seating imposed after 11 fans were crushed to death trying to get in a show by The Who.

    ….Security varies with style of music at PromoWest Pavilion and the company’s Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Stienecker said. The venues hire trained guards from another company he operates, Event Control Management, which also provides security for Columbus Crew soccer games, festivals and other events.

    An older crowd for a singer-songwriter probably will have to open their bags at the door, he said. For aggressive and hard-core rock or rap, pat-downs and sometimes hand-held metal detectors are the norm. [AP]

So how DID he get in?

    Mitch Carpenter, an Alrosa security guard working in the parking lot, said he encountered Gale before the concert and asked him to “park his car and buy a ticket or leave.” Gale parked behind the building near the band’s bus and was asked to move his car, which he did. The next time Carpenter saw Gale, he was in the club. “He had hopped the fence at the patio,” Carpenter said. “He was walking really fast toward the stage and I followed him. “I thought he was going to get up there and stage dive or something during the first song. I figured he was just a guy who didn’t have any money to buy a ticket so he got in the way he did. “I’ve been going over it in my mind, but when he came in I didn’t want to tackle him. He was a big guy.”

    Alrosa owner Rick Cautela was tending bar when he heard the shots during the band’s opening song, “New Found Power”. He thought they were firecrackers. “I heard the music stop and heard more pops. I figured the band had stopped and was going to start again when they grabbed whoever had the firecrackers,” he said of security workers. “I just kept waiting on customers.” But then audience members ran toward the exits.

    The panic and confusion can be heard in 10 calls made to 911 operators, beginning at 10:18 p.m., seconds after the first shots were fired. “I’m at the Alrosa Villa and there’s a shooting. Someone is shooting the band on the stage,” said a female caller. “They’re still shooting. The person is still loose with the gun.”

    Kozicki said he took cover in the sound booth and dialed 911 as soon as Darrell Abbott slumped to the floor. He remained on the line with an operator for five minutes, offering details about the chaos and the gunman’s actions.

    A little more than three minutes after his call to 911 began, he told the operator that police had killed the gunman. Kozicki, a student at Bowling Green State University, called the officer’s action “100 percent in the right.” “If he hadn’t done it, more people probably would have been killed,” he said yesterday.

    Niggemeyer had just begun his shift at the 18 th precinct, at Karl and Morse roads — about 2 miles from Alrosa — when the report of a shooting came in. When he arrived at the club about two minutes later, security workers pointed him to the back door.

    At least five other officers came through another door of the club seconds after Niggemeyer fired. Ultimately, about 60 detectives were at the club, many working overtime. They interviewed about 250 witnesses, putting them on three buses provided by COTA.

    This is the first time the 31-year-old Niggemeyer, who joined the force in 1999, has shot a suspect. He has a clean record, with many compliments from citizens, said Sgt. Brent Mull, a police spokesman. The division would not release his personnel file yesterday. [Columbus Dispatch – subscription required]

MTV2’s “Headbanger’s Ball” will be hosted tonight (10pm ET) by MEGADETH’s Dave Mustaine. In addition to commentary by Mustaine and regular host Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED), the program will feature some of Dimebag Darrell’s friends calling in, reactions from fans and bands, plus the latest news on the Columbus tragedy and some DAMAGEPLAN and PANTERA videos.

Comprehensive coverage of the shootings and aftermath here.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014.Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted.Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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