Columbus shooter was fan of metal band

Andy Resnik and Andy Resnik

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A man who police say shot and killed a heavy metal guitarist and three others at a concert listened to the band member’s music to psyche himself up before football games.

Nathan Gale also tried to talk music with people at a tattoo parlor in his hometown.

An imposing figure, Gale was on the offensive line for the Lima Thunder in northwest Ohio in a league that plays weekly in the summer, coach Mark Green said.

Police say Gale, 25, charged on stage at Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus and opened fire Wednesday as the band Damageplan began its set.

Guitarist Darrell Abbott, who was killed, formerly was in the popular 1990s metal band Pantera. Gale listened to Pantera on his headphones before games during his one season with the Lima team, Green said.

“You wouldn’t look at him and think he was capable of doing something like this,” Green said. “It wasn’t like he was a loner.”

Green, who also owns a car lot, said he saw Gale two days ago when he made a payment for a car he bought from Green three weeks ago. Nothing seemed unusual, he said.

At the Bears Den Tattoo Studio in Marysville, Gale made people feel uncomfortable by staring at them and forcing them into a conversation, manager Lucas Bender said.

“He comes in here and likes to hang out when he’s not wanted,” Bender said. “The most pointless conversations.”

Gale never mentioned Damageplan or Pantera, Bender said.

“I tried to stay busy and avoid him,” he said.

A tattoo artist at the studio, Bo Toler, said Gale was at the studio Wednesday between 5 and 6 p.m. Gale asked about having the studio order tattoo equipment for him and Toler said he told him no. Gale then got very angry and started yelling at him, he said.

“Last night was actually the first time I noticed his temper,” Toler said. “After the argument we had he kind of walked out with an attitude. He didn’t even say goodbye.”

Toler said Gale did not mention that he was going to the concert.

Gale was a member of Fraternal Order of the Eagles lodge in Marysville, but always came in alone and talked to only a few people, said Charlie Modena, a member of the lodge, where Gale’s mother is a bartender.

“He always seemed real quiet and usually drank Pepsi,” Modena said.

Modena said he hadn’t seen Gale at the lodge in about a week.

“He never caused any problems,” said Modena, adding he never spoke with Gale.

No one answered the door Thursday at the Marysville home of Gale’s mother, Mary Clark. A message was left on her cell phone.

Gale had several minor run-ins with police since 1997, including arrests for trespassing and driving with a suspended license, but wasn’t considered a troublemaker, assistant police chief Glenn Nicol said.

Gale’s apartment sits above stores and restaurants near Main Street in this city of about 16,000 people 25 miles northwest of Columbus.

Columbus police searched his apartment Thursday, Nicol said. Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull declined comment.

Gale had red hair that was cut very close, often wore a winter hat and was always wearing a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey jersey, said Mandi Dellinger, who works at a cell phone store on the same block where Gale lives.

Police said Gale was wearing the jersey during the shooting. Dellinger said she used to say hello to Gale but they never had a conversation.

“He seemed like a nice guy. He just seemed shy,” Dellinger said.

Gale ate two or three times a week at Maggie’s Restaurant across an alley from his apartment, waitress Emi Walden said. He would stay to chat after eating and seemed lonely, Walden said.

“There was something odd about him, not like he would be dangerous to you, just something about him that wasn’t right,” she said.

Gale mentioned he was in the Marines but wouldn’t talk specifics, Walden said. Messages were left with several military public affairs offices trying to confirm his service.

Gale got a diploma from Marysville High in 1998 after taking classes his junior and senior years at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, where he completed the construction and electricity trade program, superintendent Kim Wilson said.