Hero Cop Who Gunned Down Dimebag’s Killer Left Police Force After Suffering Stress Disorders
Dec. 8, 2004, will forever live in infamy as the day the metal world lost Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and Damageplan fame. In addition, three other men were slain that night by a crazed gunman at the Columbus, Ohio, venue Alrosa Villa, where Damageplan were playing that night.
Not only did concertgoer Nathan Gale shoot Dimebag three times onstage, he also killed the club's security guard Erin Halk, Damageplan security worker Jeff 'Mayhem' Thompson and fan Nathan Bray. As horrific as that night was, it could have been a lot worse if it weren't for the quick actions of Officer James Niggemeyer.
Ten years after the tragic incident, The Columbus Dispatch has caught up with Niggemeyer, as well as other people who were close to the events of Dec. 8, 2004. Niggemeyer has never psychologically recovered from the events of that night. Only moments after the incident started, the cop entered the club through the back door and shot assassin Nathan Gale in the head with one bullet. It turned out that Gale had 35 more bullets left on him.
Despite his status as a hero, Niggemeyer says the blood and carnage he witnessed turned out to be too much for him to handle. "I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety disorder," he explains. "Cops are regular human beings. Things affect us the same way they affect everyday citizens. We relive it and have to deal with the aftermath."
Because of his condition, it was determined that Niggemeyer should no longer be a first responder. At first he was transferred to Detective in the robbery division, but ultimately he had to leave his position as a cop altogether. Since 2011, he has been working in a non-police job with the city.
"I’m happy to have been able to end the situation with no further tragedies after I arrived, but it certainly hasn’t made my life any better," says Niggemeyer. "I'm still in counseling."
The Columbus Dispatch also caught up with the owner of the Alrose Villa nightclub, who at one point was engaged in a legal battle with Dimebag's family. In addition, the newspaper also spoke with Andy Halk, whose brother Erin Halk was slain while working security for the show that night. Read about the fascinating accounts of their lives since the tragic incident here.
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