Dimebag Darrell dies

On December 8, 2004, Abbott was shot onstage while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.

The gunman was Nathan Gale, who shot Abbott three times in the head, the third of which killed him instantly. Gale then continued shooting, killing three others and wounding a further seven. Gale fired a total of fifteen shots, stopping to reload once and remaining silent throughout the shooting.

Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, the band's head of security, was killed tackling Gale, as was Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk. Audience member Nathan Bray was killed while trying to perform CPR on Abbott and Thompson. It was rumored that one crowd member leaped in front of the gunman, saving the lives of several band members. Damageplan drum technician, John "Kat" Brooks, was shot three times as he attempted to get the gun away from Gale, but was overpowered and taken hostage in a headlock position. Tour manager Chris Paluska was also injured.

Seven police officers came in the front entrance, led by Officer Rick Crum, and moved toward the stage. Officer James D. Niggemeyer came in through the back door, behind the stage. Gale only saw the officers in front of the stage; he never saw Officer Niggemeyer, who was armed with a 12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun. He approached Gale from the opposite side of the stage to avoid hitting the hostage and fired a single shot, striking Gale in the face with eight of the nine buckshot pellets. Gale was found to have had 35 rounds of ammunition remaining.

Nurse and audience member Mindy Reece, 28, went to the aid of Abbott, and she and another fan administered CPR until paramedics arrived, but were unable to revive him.