Mary Clark, the mother of Nathan Gale, who shot and killed Dimebag Darrell Abbott and three others before he was killed by policeman James D. Niggemeyer, spoke with Columbus TV station WCMH yesterday about her son:
- Clark said Gale lives in her memory as a beloved son.
“We were pretty close,” Clark said.
Clark confirmed to NBC 4 that her son suffered from a mental illness. She said he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic last year when he was sent home from the Marine Corps on an early medical discharge.
“And I still didn’t understand the whole thing, but he came home with his medications, and I don’t know if he took them or not,” Clark said.
Gale hardly talked with his mother about the diagnosis after that
…”I don’t know if he was afraid to, or … ashamed to, or … didn’t believe it himself,” Clark said.
Clark said her son’s fixation on the band Pantera peaked about eight years ago when he was in high school.
“He had it in his head that those were his lyrics,” Clark said of Pantera’s music. “And nobody was going to change his mind.”
…Clark said that while Gale was fixated on Pantera in high school, Clark thought that problem stemmed from some drug issues, which she believed her son had since worked through.
“It seemed like he … he put it out of his mind,” Clark said. “It seemed like, OK, everything was better.”
It was only with last week’s shooting that Clark realized everything was not better
…”Maybe I wasn’t looking for it,” Clark said. “Maybe I wasn’t in tune, you know? I should have been looking for signs, and I didn’t.”
But to Officer James Niggemeyer, who she says had no choice but to shoot and kill her son, she said thanks.
“I commend that man for saving the lives of others,” Clark said.
Perhaps the greatest weight on Clark’s heart and mind is what she knows about the handgun her son used in the shooting, Hollingsworth reported.
“When he came home for Christmas the year he was in the service, I was so proud of that man for cleaning up his life the way he did,” Clark said. “And I bought him that gun. I’ll never, never be able to live that part down.”
Clark said Gale’s mental health diagnosis came after the gun purchase.
….”I have such remorse for those families, and I am so sorry that they are losing their loved ones,” Clark said. “Their sons, brothers, fathers.”
…The only beginnings of answers Clark said she can offer come from notebooks she found in her son’s apartment this week.
In one, Gale wrote that two things got him to where he is. One was that he “could not see [his] own thoughts”.
“And the other is, ‘Growing up not knowing my own thoughts,’ ” Clark said. “This is what I think paranoid schizophrenia really is.”
Nearly 5,000 fans and friends gathered to say farewell to Darrell at the Arlington Convention Center in his Texas home town on Tuesday:
- As well as the large number of fans, who waited in the freezing cold to get into the service, Dimebag’s brother and bandmate Vinnie Paul Abbott, Damageplan’s Pat Lachman, former Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, Eddie Van Halen and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde were also in attendance.
Vinnie Paul Abbott took the stage, holding a life-size cut-out of his brother close to him.
“Darrell Abbott gave his heart to everyone,” he said. “He went down doing something he loved; he loved playing guitar. The brightest star in Texas is shining tonight. That’s my brother, Dimebag. Give it up.”
Earlier in the day, a small procession of limousines left Dimebag’s Dalworthington Gardens home for the funeral service, which his family had requested remain a private affair.
Cantrell, Van Halen and members of Slipknot attended the funeral.
Dimebag’s former Pantera bandmate Phil Anselmo travelled to Dallas for Dimebag’s funeral but the former Pantera frontman reveals that he didn’t attend out of respect for the Abbott family.
“They do not want me there,” he reveals in a videotaped statement released to the American media on December 14 . “I believe I belong there, but I understand completely. I wish his family the least grief they could ever have. I love him like a brother loves a brother. I’m so sorry to his family and everyone else who was senselessly killed in Columbus, Ohio.
“I never got a chance to say goodbye in the right way and it kills me, and I’m so sorry,” Anselmo adds. “This has changed the entire world, and this is the last you’ll be seeing of me for a long time.” [Kerrang]