COLUMBUS, Ohio — A police spokesman describes a fatal shooting at a Columbus heavy metal concert Wednesday night as “a horrific scene.”
Authorities say a man opening fire on band members of Damageplan and its fans killed four people and wounded two others. A police officer arriving at the scene shot the gunman dead.
The shooting took place shortly after 10 p.m at the Alrosa Villa nightclub. Police said that they are searching for a motive. A crowd of about 250 people was inside for the concert by Damageplan.
Two members of the heavy metal band were reportedly killed. Darrell Abbott, who was known as “Dimebag Darrell,” was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WCMH-TV in Columbus. Police released the names of two others who died. They were Nathan Bray and Erin Halk, both audience members.
Abbott is a former member of the popular band Pantera.
“(The gunman) came on stage, from the back, like he knew what he was doing and went straight to Dimebag Darrell immediately,” an unidentified witness said.”
The alleged gunman reportedly shot and killed another member of the band before firing shots into the crowd.
The police spokesman said it “would have been a lot worse” if the policeman had not responded as quickly as he did.
The band took the stage shortly after 10 p.m., and minutes later, a man, who was wearing a hockey jersey and hooded sweatshirt, began firing at point-blank range at least four times at guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
A witness said the gunman appeared to have some kind of “grudge” when he jumped on stage and shot the guitarist several times.
Witnesses said that several shots were fired at the band before a bouncer tackled the gunman before he was shot and killed.
A female fan said at first she thought the shooting was part of the show, but once she saw the guitarist fall she “decided to get out of there.” The fan said she wasn’t searched on her way in. She added that she didn’t see any metal detectors or uniformed police officers at the venue.
Some members of the audience reportedly thought the man running onto the stage with a gun was part of the band’s act.
Columbus police Sgt. Brent Mull said the shooter appeared to be targeting the band members. After opening fire on the stage, the gunman turned on the crowd. At that point, an officer shot the man dead.
Of the surviving victims, one person was in critical condition while the other was in fair condition, according to WCMH. Several others were treated at the scene, suffering from various injuries.
Columbus police were flooded with 911 calls from concertgoers right after the shooting. Some witnesses said the alleged gunman took someone hostage. Minutes later, a Columbus police officer entered the nightclub and shot and killed the man
Many people who were injured during the shooting spree and in the chaos that followed were put on buses and treated for injuries at the scene.
Alrosa Villa is a popular north Columbus nightspot for young adults, featuring rock and heavy metal bands.
According to the band’s Web site, Damageplan was touring nationally. It performed in Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday night and had a concert scheduled in Flint, Mich., on Thursday.
Damageplan featured former Pantera artists Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. The pair were joined by vocalist Patrick Lachman and bassist Bobzilla, according to their Web site.