A look back at the Alrosa murders, from someone who was there

By Linda Walker

Dec. 8, 2004 is a date that is emblazoned, in the minds of many central Ohio individuals, as the night that the Alrosa Villa nightclub came under attack by a deranged man by the name of Nathan Gale. Several people died that night as the metal band Damageplan took to the stage. Gale had stalked Daryl "Dimebag" Abbott for several months, supposedly because he was upset that Abbott's previous band Pantera had broken up. Abbott was shot point blank by Gale, as were several other patrons and members of Damageplan.

In the audience that infamous night were two of Buckeye Firearms Association's Columbus volunteers - Roger and Tiffany Caron. The Caron's, both concealed handgun licensee's, were front and center when the shooting began. But, because of Ohio's ban on concealed carry where alcohol is being served, they were unarmed, and forced to stand by helplessly.

Even though Roger had not had a drink that night, state law prevented Roger, who as a CHL-holder is among the most law-abiding citizens, the right to defend himself when completely sober! I ask, is there a difference between Bob Evans, where I can legally carry my firearm and Applebee's where I am banned from carrying my firearm, if I am not drinking? The delusion remains, that evil will happen at Applebee's should I dare to carry my firearm across their threshold.

Most likely, nothing would have saved Daryl Abbott that night, but had Roger been allowed to carry his firearm that night, maybe other lives could have been spared before Columbus Police Officer Niggenmeyer was able to stop Nathan Gale in his tracks.

This night has forever changed the lives of the hundreds in attendance that night. Now, the day before the 2 year anniversary of this travesty, a lawsuit has been filed against the Alrosa Villa by a couple, claiming there should have been more security present that night. Would more security have made a difference? Probably not, because once again, thanks to current Ohio law, armed security is not allowed in an alcohol serving nightclub either.

What follows is a never-before-published account from Roger Caron of the horrible night that he and his wife, Tiffany experienced.

Response to couple filing lawsuit against Alrosa Villa night club over shooting

By Roger Caron

A little back ground if I may -

First, I must let you all know that Tiffany and I are not what most would consider typical Metal fans. Tiffany is 34. She is a Travel Coordinator for a large private airline in America. I am 37, a Design Engineer for a small company in central Ohio. We have a son in high school and a son in middle school. We just happen to like metal music.

We had recently lost our prized Kiysha, an American Eskimo dog that we took in when we were married in 1991. She fell ill of old age after so many years with us and we both took her death hard as she was a member of our family from the beginning. For two weeks we tried to cope with it, and when we heard that our favorite new metal act was to be in town we felt that this would be a way for us to both loosen up a little and get a new start.

We had seen Damageplan in Cincinnati in early March of the year (I will get back to that later) and were real excited to be able to see them at Al Rosa Villa. Our favorite band in such a personal venue like Al Rosa! We were just ecstatic! Daryl Abbot was the kind of person that always treated the fans like his friends. We were sure that we would be able to buddy-up with him after the show. That obviously was not to be.

We were right on the steel guard fence that the band provided to keep fans at bay during the show. I always enjoyed being that close so I could see all the stage happenings. I am weird that way. Well long story short, Tiffany and I had a real ugly view of what we all know happened.

Now for the psychological after effects of the event:

After standing in the cold through the middle of the night we were pretty much ready to just end the nightmare and wake up. After giving our statement to an investigator, to include that we observed this same whack-job try to attack Abbot in Cincinnati back in March, we were allowed to go home at 3:45 am.

The next morning we immediately contacted a specialist to help us relax and start the process of understanding the full scope of what we just went through. It has been two years now. We have slowly started to go to music shows again. We attended the first show after Al Rosa re-opened. It was very strange for me. I will tell you that I will never go into the corner where I watched it all happen nor do I even step on the floor where Abbot lay bleeding to death after some fans pulled him off stage to protect him from the murderer. The first night I just sat on a corner ledge and stared. Stared at what would be nothing to anyone else but in my mind it was more than I could piece together in my memories.

Tiffany has learned to deal with her experience well. I on the other hand haven't done so well. I am a former Marine and my logic tells me that I should have been able to do more. I should have been able to help stop this from happening. I was right there! My wife and I are licensed in Ohio to legally carry a concealed firearm. We were prohibited from carrying that night due to Ohios' strict concealed carry law. Stopping Abbot from being shot would not have been able to happen. Gale stormed the stage from the side and Abbot was his first target. He put his arm around Abbot and shot point blank directly into Abbot's skull. I only realized what was happening after I smelled the gun powder and saw splinters fly from what looked like a shot to the floor. But after that I truly believe that I could have made positive impact on the situation had I been armed.

So to the real topic of this is that I find it preposterous to sue Alrosa Villa for negligence! This guy was hanging outside the entrance waiting for Abbot's band to start. I went outside for some non-smoke filled air and saw him there. He was pacing by a hot dog-type vendor that had set up along what seems to be a 8-foot tall fence that Gale later scaled to gain illegal entry into the venue. He managed to get in and made it to the stage where he encountered a few security people from both the venue AND the band. He made it past them and nothing was going to stop this guy from his deranged plans. NOTHING AND NOBODY!

Part of my trouble dealing with my experience is that the investigators later concluded that Gale was in fact the guy that was arrested in Cincinnati for trying to attack Abbot. I believe he was arrested and released. The band decided not to press charges for Gale's damaging over $3000 in stage lighting because that would mean they would have to personally come to town or pay a lawyer to represent them in court. I can't help but think that if the case would have proceeded that maybe Gale would have been identified as mentally unstable and maybe he would have gotten the proper care he needed, most possibly he would not have ruined the night of so many people on December 8, 2004.

The second and most important problem part of this to me is why Gale was given a firearm from his mother. She stated that she purchased this for him at a local gun store. What??? I just purchased a firearm, and the required back round check form's first "yes or no" question deals with this issue. It states that you can not buy a firearm for someone else, and that to do so is a felony. Why is she allowed to do this? Why is she not being prosecuted? Why not? She states she lost a son too. Yes, but no bereavement from me as her son took from many many people that night. We too have to live with what happened as a result of her illegally giving him the gun.

As for the people suing over mental stress, I fully understand their stance, BUT I think that going after only the venue is not fair. For what I have seen and learned in the last two years - the venue, the band, Nathan Gale, Nathan Gale's mother and the State Of Ohio are all responsible for this happening. I don't care how big a security person is, a bullet will still enter their skin rendering their ability to perform somewhat compromised. Until Ohio realizes that forks and knives are as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands, they have the blood of all those that were murdered and injured that night. Ohio law restricts security from possessing firearms in liquor serving establishments. Nothing was going to stop this!

I as well as many other witnesses will probably never overcome this event. I will NEVER forget what I witnessed, but most important I will never forget the people most affected by this event, the dead and the families of those who were forever taken away because Ohio refuses to prosecute people for violations to current firearms laws on the books. Only then will we know for sure if the current laws work before we legislate more feel-good laws that will not do a thing for society.

Roger and Tiffany Caron are Buckeye Firearms Association volunteers in the Columbus area.

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