On this day in history : 8th December 1980 – John Lennon is shot dead outside his New York apartment…. He was 40-years-old….

John Lennon in 1980, shortly before his death – Jack Mitchell, derivative work CC BY-SA 3.0

Just before 11pm John and his wife Yoko Ono arrived at their luxury apartment building, the Dakota, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – opposite Central Park…. They were returning home after spending several hours at the Record Plant recording studios….

Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City
The Dakota, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City – Ajay Suresh CC BY 2.0

Earlier in the day Mark David Chapman, a 25-year-old security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii, had asked John for his autograph…. John obliged by signing the copy of the album ‘Double Fantasy’ offered to him…. Chapman then made his way to the former Beatles’ apartment building to wait for him….

As John and Yoko approached the building Chapman fired his Charter Arms .38 Special revolver five times, from a distance of 9 or 10 feet away…. John was hit in the back 4 times…. He staggered up the steps to the building before collapsing…. Jay Hastings, the building’s concierge rushed to help him, yelling at Chapman – “Do you know what you’ve done?” – to which Chapman calmly replied – “Yes, I just shot John Lennon”…. Chapman made no attempt to escape….he removed his hat and coat, having dropped the gun, in preparation for the arrival of the police…. Two police officers arrived within a couple of minutes, having heard shots…. Chapman put up no resistance to his arrest…. Two more police officers arrived and seeing the severity of John’s injuries decided not to wait for an ambulance – but carried him to the squad car and drove him to hospital…. John Lennon was pronounced dead at the Roosevelt Hospital….

Main entrance of the Dakota, where John Lennon was shot – David Shankbone CC BY-SA 3.0
Police artist sketch of the murder – New York City Police Department – Fair use

Chapman claimed he had heard voices in his head telling him to kill John; in 1981 he was imprisoned to a life sentence in Attica Correctional Facility, Buffalo, New York…. He first became eligible for parole in 2000 – since then parole has been denied ten times….

Mug shot of Mark David Chapman – Fair use

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