Guitarist's killer claimed victim stole his lyrics

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The man who gunned down former Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott during a concert was an obsessed fan who alarmed people with his bizarre behaviour. Nathan Gale had told friends that Pantera had stolen lyrics from him and were trying to steal his identity.

Gale, 25, rushed towards the stage at a show by Abbott's new band, Damageplan, last Wednesday, killing four people and injuring two before a police officer shot him dead. Some witnesses said he yelled accusations that Abbott had broken up Pantera.

Gale once showed up at a friend's house with songs he said he had written but which had been copied from Pantera, said Dave Johnson, 27. "He'd been kind of weird before that so we thought it was another 'Crazy Nate' thing," Mr Johnson said. "That was our nickname for him, Crazy Nate."

As a semi-pro American football player, Gale listened to Pantera music to psych himself up before games, but he later claimed he would sue the band for stealing his songs.

Gale served in the marines in North Carolina until November 2003, when he was discharged after less than half of the typical four-year stint for undisclosed reasons. (AP)