Wednesday December 6, 2017
Host/producer Maria Vasquez Boyd asks “Where Were You When John Lennon Was Shot?” Guests Kasey Rausch, Phil Kinen, & John Thomson Todd share their perspective on that tragic day.
8 December 1980-Photographer Annie Leibovitz went to the Lennons’ apartment to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone magazine Leibovitz promised Lennon that a photo with Ono would make the front cover of the magazine, even though she initially tried to get a picture with Lennon by himself. Leibovitz said, “Nobody wanted [Ono] on the cover” Lennon insisted that both he and his wife be on the cover, and after taking the pictures, Leibovitz left their apartment at 15:30. After the photo shoot, Lennon gave what would be his last interview, to San Francisco DJ Dave Sholin, for a music show to be broadcast on the RKO Radio Network. At 13:40, Lennon and Ono, delayed by a late limousine, left their apartment to mix the song “Walking on Thin Ice” (an Ono song featuring Lennon on lead guitar) at the Record Plant Studio.
As Lennon and Ono walked to a limousine, shared with the RKO Radio crew, they were approached by several people seeking autographs. Amongst them was Mark David Chapman. It was common for fans to wait outside the Dakota to meet Lennon and ask for his autograph. Chapman, a 25-year-old security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii, had previously travelled to New York to murder Lennon in October (before the release of Double Fantasy), but had changed his mind and returned home. Chapman silently handed Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, and Lennon obliged with an autograph. After signing the album, Lennon asked, “Is this all you want?” Chapman smiled and nodded in agreement. Photographer and Lennon fan Paul Goresh took a photo of the encounter. Chapman had been waiting for Lennon outside the Dakota since mid-morning and had even approached the Lennons’ five-year-old son, Sean, who was with the family nanny, Helen Seaman, when they returned home in the afternoon. According to Chapman, he briefly touched the boy’s hand. The Lennons spent several hours at the Record Plant studio before returning to the Dakota, at approximately 22:50. Lennon had decided against dining out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to his son, before going on to the Stage Deli restaurant with Ono. Lennon liked to oblige, with autographs or pictures, any fans who had been waiting for long periods of time to meet him, and once said during a 6 December 1980 interview with BBC Radio’s Andy Peebles: “People come and ask for autographs, or say ‘Hi’, but they don’t bug you.” The Lennons exited their limousine on 72nd Street instead of driving into the more secure courtyard of the Dakota.
The Dakota’s doorman, Jose Perdomo, and a nearby cab driver saw Chapman standing in the shadows by the archway. As Lennon passed by, he glanced briefly at Chapman, appearing to recognise him from earlier. Seconds later, Chapman took aim at the center of Lennon’s back and fired five hollow-point bullets at him from a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver, in rapid succession, from a distance of about 9 or 10 feet (about 3 m).Based on statements made that night by NYPD Chief of Detectives James Sullivan, numerous radio, television, and newspaper reports claimed at the time that, before firing, Chapman called out, “Mr. Lennon”, and dropped into a combat stance.
Later court hearings and witness interviews did not include either “Mr. Lennon” or the “combat stance” description. Chapman has said he does not remember calling out to Lennon before he fired, but he claimed to have taken a “combat stance” in a 1992 interview with Barbara Walters.The first bullet missed, passing over Lennon’s head and hitting a window of the Dakota building. Two of the next bullets struck Lennon in the left side of his back, and the other two penetrated his left shoulder.
Lennon, bleeding profusely from external wounds and from his mouth, staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, saying, “I’m shot, I’m shot”. He then fell to the floor, scattering cassettes that he had been carrying. The concierge, Jay Hastings, first started to make a tourniquet, but upon ripping open Lennon’s blood-stained shirt and realizing the severity of the musician’s multiple injuries, he covered Lennon’s chest with his uniform jacket, removed his blood-covered glasses, and summoned the police.
Outside, doorman Perdomo shook the gun out of Chapman’s hand then kicked it across the sidewalk. Chapman then removed his coat and hat in preparation for the arrival of police—to show he was not carrying any concealed weapons—and sat down on the sidewalk. Perdomo shouted at Chapman, “Do you know what you’ve just done?”, to which Chapman calmly replied, “Yes, I just shot John Lennon.”
Kasey Rausch is a 5th generation songwriter & musician, co-producer/host of roots music radio show River Trade Radio on KKFI 90.1FM Kansas City Community Radio and former host of Campfire on DittyTV (Memphis, TN). Her family and musical roots can be found in Parkville, Kansas City, the Missouri Ozarks, Winfield, Kansas (home of the legendary Walnut Valley Festival) and deep Southeast Texas. She tours nationally with pedal steel and guitar master Marco Pascolini as The Country Duo and plays locally with classic country honky tonkers The Naughty Pines and songwriter Scott Stanton. Rausch’s third album, Guitar in Hand (originally released on MudStomp Records 2014), debuted at #3 on the Roots Music Reporting charts and was voted one of the top three albums of the year by readers of The Pitch, KC’s weekly entertainment guide. She was named 2016 Best of the Northland Artist, 2013’s Female Performer of the Year by The Farmer’s Turnpike on KMXN 92.9 FM and is a four-time Pitch Music Award Nominee. She has shared the stage with Joe Ely, Dale Watson, Peter Rowan, Roland White, Kris Delmhorst, Jack Williams and many more.
John Thompson Todd-I’ve been involved in the music scene in KC since I was a teenager, eventually becoming a professional musician & DJ. I found my way to KKFI 90.1 FM as a sound engineer with the Heartland Labor Forum and eventually a DJ !!!
My mission at KKFI? To find alternative, under-represented bands, and give them the airplay they deserve.
John’s program, “Under the Radar,” airs Sunday evenings from 8-10 p.m. on KKFI. Tune in to discover what bands John unearths next!
Phil Kinen- Staging Director at Heartland Men’s Chorus, Server at Michael Forbes Bar & Grille and Owner/Creative Director at Phil Kinen’s BIG SHOW.
Kinen is a playwright and director, his original work Never Ever After and Huck Finn and the Quest for the Winding Wind both premiered in the Kansas City Fringe Festival.