This Day In History: Assassination Of John Lennon


Justin Irvolino, Staff Writer

John Lennon, the founder of the band that changed pop music for the ages in the 60’s, The Beatles, was fatally shot by a fame mongering fan that wanted to go down in history as the man who killed a Beatle.

On December 8, 1980, 40 year old John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were having a photo shoot early that morning in their New York City apartment for Rolling Stone Magazine. They were entering their limo to go to the Record Plant studios for the mixing of their new song ” Walking on Thin Ice” when Lennon was greeted by crazed fans.

One of those crazed fans was Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman. He signed Chapman’s album and continued on his way. Unbeknownst to John Lennon, Chapman would be seeing him again later that day at Lennon’s apartment building, the Dakota.

Around 10:30 PM while Lennon and Yoko where walking back to their apartment, the couple heard someone shout “Mr. Lennon” from behind. John turned around and saw the same man from earlier in the day. Mark David Chapman was not holding an album any more but a .38 revolver. He was in a combat stance on one knee. Chapman fired 5 shots, 4 hitting John in the back, shoulder, and the side of his torso.

As Yoko held John while he bled out, Chapman stood in the middle of the sidewalk reading “The Catcher And The Rye” where he wrote, ” This is my statement” and signed it “Holden Caulfield”, the story’s protagonist. As Chapman stood there waiting for the police to show up to arrest him, the doorman of the Dakota asked him if he knew what he had done and Chapman responded with, ” I just shot John Lennon.”

Lennon was pronounced dead from major blood loss at 11:30, on his way to the hospital. Lennon’s death spread throughout the world causing world wide mourning.

Chapman admitted to killing John Lennon because he wanted to “steal” his  fame along with other celebrities.  Chapman also admitted to planning the assassination 3 months in advance and to hearing voices telling him to “do it” over and over until the vile deed was done.

25 year old Mark David Chapman was examined and classed as borderline psychotic. He was sentenced to 20 years to life and was denied probation 6 times.

A memorial was put in Strawberry Fields in Central Park in honor of Lennon’s Death.