The whole world mourned when famed singer-songwriter John Lennon died. Not only was he an extraordinary musician and the co-founder of the band The Beatles, he was also a renowned peace activist and far more than just a performer to many.
If you are a fan, you probably know the key details of his death. He was brutally shot four times by Mark David Chapman on the night of Monday, December 8, 1980. The shooting occurred in the archway of the Dakota, his residence in New York City. Lennon had just returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono.
The officers on scene saw the severity of the situation and rushed Lennon into a police car. His killer, Chapman, was arrested on the spot and later charged and convicted of murdering Lennon.
On the 37th anniversary of this iconic figure, key players from that night shared their experience. Most notably are Dr. David Halleran and former NYPD officer, Peter Cullen.
Officer Peter Cullen was one of the two officers who arrived first on the scene. They were at 72nd Street and Broadway when they heard a report of shots fired at the Dakota.
When Lennon was brought into the emergency department of the Roosevelt Hospital, Dr. David Halleran was on duty. He and two other doctors, a nurse, and two or three other medical attendants worked on Lennon for 10 to 15 minutes in a desperate attempt to resuscitate him. As a last resort, Halleran cut open Lennon’s chest and attempted manual heart massage to restore circulation, but the wounds were too severe.
David Halleran pronounced Lennon’s time of death for at 11:15 p.m and the body was taken to the city morgue at 520 First Avenue for an autopsy.
Watch the video clip where both men described their surreal experience of what happened that night.
Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, chose not to hold a funeral for her husband. The following day after her husband’s death, she issued a statement that said: “There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean.”
Instead of a funeral, on 14th December, millions of people around the world responded to Ono’s request to pause for ten minutes of silence to remember Lennon. For those ten minutes, every radio station in New York City went off the air. His remains were cremated and his ashes spread were spread in Central Park.
Later, New York City dedicated an area of the Central Park in memory of John Lennon— located directly across from the Dakota— now known as Strawberry Fields. In a symbolic show of unity, countries from around the world donated trees, and the city of Naples, Italy, donated the Imagine mosaic centerpiece.
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