Peter Gatien On Michael Alig’s Murder Of Angel Melendez: He Was The Last Person I Thought Could Commit Murder
Michael Alig, the subject of Party Monster who murdered his roommate Angel Melendez in 1996, was one of the last people that former Limelight owner Peter Gatien would have imagined killing and butchering someone.
Peter Gatien On Michael Alig
“When I heard about it, if someone came up to me and was like listen Peter one of your staff killed somebody in their apartment last night, who do you think it is? Michael Alig might have been the 995th person on my list,” Gatien, who employed about 1000 people at the time, told uInterview exclusively in 2011. “I mean he was small, non violent. It’s not like he carried a knife or a gun, or ever gotten into a fight.”
When Alig killed Melendez, who had been hitting him up for drug debts, with the help of fellow scenester Robert “Freeze” Riggs, he was at the height of his drug use. By his own account, Alig had been bingeing on cocaine, Special K, crystal meth and heroin.
“For the most part for the first four years [he worked for me], he was actually almost drug free. He didn’t do drugs at the club,” said Gatien. “Four years later, he crossed over to heroin and I have no friends or had experienced anyone who crossed over to heroin.… So, finally I told him you have to go to rehab, end of story. I get arrangements for him and he skipped out on it, so I met with his mother and her name was Olga. I told her you have two choices with Michael, either he goes to rehab or he gets fired.”
When Alig killed Melendez, the Limelight had been closed for several months due to an investigation into drug trafficking at the club. Melendez had worked at the club alongside Alig, who’d gotten his start in the underground club scene in the early 80s at Danceteria. He was later taken under the wing of socialite James St. James and club owner Gatien.
Though Gatien admits he was shocked to learn of Alig’s guilt, he said, “[Michael] crossed over to a world where, obviously, really bad things can happen.”
Alig was released from prison earlier this year after serving 17 years behind bars for his manslaughter conviction in Melendez’s death. He’s currently working on a memoir.