“I just shot John Lennon”

"I just shot John Lennon"

John Lennon couldn't face his murderer before he died. The seven fatal shots he was given on his back were enough to extinguish his life within minutes while the murderer waited patient and silently on the sidewalk just by the scene to be arrested by the police.

It was the 8th of December 1980 and it seemed like a normal day for the Lennons in The Dakota, a mansion in which John Lennon lived in with his wife Yoko Ono and his son Sam. That day the couple had an appointment at 2.00 pm in their flat with the renowned photographer Annie Leivobitz for a photo session for the cover of the next Rolling Stone magazine issue.

During the session, despite the insistence of Leivobitz for a picture with John Lennon alone, the couple never allowed such a shot and instead the photographer had to make her best by shooting Lennon and Ono together.

Later that day John Lennon and Yoko Ono went to Record Plant Studio around 5 o'clock in the afternoon to finish the mixing of a Ono's song called "Walking on the Thin Ice" featuring her husband on the guitars. Unfortunately, in spite of going out for supper right after the studio session, the singer decided to go back home to say goodnight to his son Sam, probably the last will of Lennon.

According to the sources present at the crime scene and the following court hearing, John Lennon was shot dead sometime between 10.50 and 11 pm when the couple returned to The Dakota. At their return to home, Yoko Ono took the lead and Lennon followed her to the door. Before he could put a feet on the steps, Mark David Chapman approached the singer on his back and shot him seven times with hollow-point bullets damaging Lennon's left lung and the left sub-clavian artery, near where it branches off of the aorta.

Unbelievably calm, Chapman waited to be approached by Lennon's doorman, José Perdomo, who according to the police records shouted at him "Do you know what you' have done?" getting a sincere and crude answer: "Yes, I just shot John Lennon".

The subsequent hours of desperation developed into John Lennon's death. As soon as the shooting was reported to the police, two units got to The Dakota and one of them took Lennon to Roosevelt Hospital while the other captured Chapman and took him to the closest police station. Despite the doctors tried to save Lennon's life for around 20 minutes, the singer was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:15 pm by Dr. Stephan Lynn.

John Lennon's death was first reported on Monday Night Football on ABC after a call from Alan Weiss, a reporter and patient at the hospital for a motorbike accident by the time Lennon was taken to the emergency room. Later that month the issue of Rolling Stone featured on the cover a picture taken by Annie Leivobitz in the afternoon the day Lennon was shot dead. The image portrays a naked Lennon cuddling up with his wife.

Return to John Lennon

Sign up for the Eurochannel Newsletter!

Don't miss our latest line-up, exclusive sweepstakes and events!