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Old Dec 04, 2005, 02:17 PM   #1
HMVNipper
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Default John Lennon's Death Lingers for Witnesses

Sad article. Rather graphic too, so if you're bothered by that, don't read this...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...MPLATE=DEFAULT

Dec 4, 4:40 PM EST

John Lennon's Death Lingers for Witnesses

By LARRY McSHANE
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- A television news producer. An emergency room doctor. Two NYPD beat cops. Before that December night 25 years ago, they shared little but this: As children of the '60s, the soundtrack of their lives came courtesy of the Beatles.

Alan Weiss, a two-time Emmy winner before his 30th birthday, was working at WABC-TV. His teen years were the time of "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." In his 20s, Weiss admired John Lennon's music and politics.

Dr. Stephan Lynn was starting his second year as head of the Roosevelt Hospital emergency room. He remembered the Beatles playing "The Ed Sullivan Show," although he didn't quite get the resultant hysteria.

Officer Pete Cullen, with partner Steve Spiro, did the night shift on Manhattan's Upper West Side. They'd occasionally run into Lennon walking through the neighborhood with his son, Sean. "The Beatles were a big part of my life," Cullen said.

On the night of Dec. 8, 1980, Lynn was in the ER, Weiss was heading home from the newsroom, Cullen and Spiro were on the job - and M*** D**** C****** was lurking outside Lennon's home.
The chubby man with the wire-rimmed glasses stood patiently in the dark outside the Dakota apartment house. He carried a copy of "The Catcher In the Rye," the J.D. Salinger tale of disaffected youth, and a five-shot Charter Arms .38-caliber revolver.

Lennon, just two months past his 40th birthday, returned from a midtown Manhattan recording studio at 10:50 p.m with wife Yoko Ono. The limousine stopped at the ornate 72nd Street gate; John and Yoko emerged. C******'s voice, the same one that had beseeched the ex-Beatle for an autograph hours earlier, rang out: "Mr. Lennon!"

The handgun was leveled at the rock world's foremost pacifist. Four bullets pierced their famous target.

The voice of a generation was reduced to a final gasp: "I'm shot."
"Do you know what you just did?" screamed the Dakota's doorman.

"I just shot John Lennon," C****** replied softly.

---

THE COPS

Back in 1965, while still in the Police Academy, 23-year-old Pete Cullen's first real assignment was working security outside the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street. Upstairs, safe from the insanity below, were the Beatles.

Fifteen years later, the officer was staring at a dying John Lennon within minutes after C****** opened fire. Cullen and Spiro were first to answer the report of shots fired.

Cullen was struck by the lack of movement: the doorman, a building handyman and the killer, all standing as if frozen.

"Somebody just shot John Lennon!" the doorman finally shouted, pointing at C******.

"Where's Lennon?" Cullen asked. The rock star was crumpled inside a nearby vestibule, blood pouring from his chest. There were bullet holes in the glass; Cullen went to Lennon's side as Spiro cuffed the gunman.

Two other officers lugged Lennon's limp body to a waiting police car, which sped downtown to Roosevelt Hospital. The cuffed suspect directed Spiro to his copy of "The Catcher in the Rye," which was lying on the ground nearby with the inscription, "This is my statement." And then he spoke: "I acted alone," C****** said.

"That blew my mind," said Spiro, who suddenly felt like he was in a movie. The veteran officer later thought about Lennon's 5-year-old son, Sean, who was sitting a few floors above. Spiro had a boy the same age.

In the midst of the chaos, Cullen spotted Yoko Ono. "Can I go, too?" she asked as her husband disappeared. A ride was quickly arranged. Cullen and Spiro then loaded C****** into their car for a trip to the 20th Precinct.

"He was apologetic," Cullen recalled - but not for shooting Lennon. "I remember that he was apologizing for giving us a hard time."

---

THE PRODUCER

As the wounded Lennon made the one-mile trip to Roosevelt Hospital, Alan Weiss was already there. The TV news producer's Honda motorcycle collided with a taxi around 10 p.m., and he was awaiting X-rays.

A sudden buzz filled the room: A gunshot victim was coming in.

The ER doors opened with a crash as a half-dozen police officers burst through, carrying a stretcher with the victim. Doctors and nurses flew into action. Two of the cops paused alongside Weiss' gurney.

"Jesus, can you believe it?" one asked. "John Lennon."

Weiss was incredulous. He bribed a hospital worker $20 to call the WABC-TV newsroom with a tip that Lennon was shot. The money disappeared, and the call was never made.

Five minutes passed, and Weiss heard a strangled sound. "I twist around and there is Yoko Ono in a full-length fur coat on the arm of a police officer, and she's sobbing," he said. Weiss finally persuaded another cop to let him use a hospital phone, and he reached the WABC-TV assignment editor with his tip around 11 p.m.

The editor confirmed a reported shooting at Lennon's address. Weiss returned to his gurney, watching in disbelief as the doctors frantically worked on the rock icon. A familiar tune came over the hospital's Muzak: the Beatles' "All My Loving."

It was surreal. And then too real.

"The song ends. And within a minute or two, I hear a scream: `No, oh no, no no no,'" Weiss said. "The door opens, and Yoko comes out crying hysterically."

Weiss' tip was confirmed and given to Howard Cosell, who told the nation of Lennon's death during "Monday Night Football."

---

THE DOCTOR

Dr. Stephan Lynn walked to the end of the emergency room hall where Yoko Ono was waiting in an otherwise empty room. It was his job to deliver the word that John Lennon, her soulmate and spouse, was dead.

"She refused to accept or believe that," Lynn recalled. "For five minutes, she kept repeating, `It's not true. I don't believe you. You're lying.'"

Lynn listened quietly.

His 15 1/2-hour shift had ended at 10:30 p.m., with Lynn returning to his home in Lennon's neighborhood. His phone was soon ringing; could he come back to help out? A man with a gunshot to the chest was coming to Roosevelt.

Lynn arrived by cab just before his patient did. The victim had no pulse, no blood pressure, no breathing. Lynn, joined by two other doctors, worked frantically. Gradually, they came to realize that they were trying to save the life of one of the world's most famous men.

Twenty minutes later, they gave up.

Ono left the hospital to tell her son the news, leaving Lynn to inform the media throng that Lennon was gone.

Back in the emergency room, Lynn arranged for the disposal of all medical supplies and equipment used on Lennon - a move to thwart ghoulish collectors.

It was almost 3 a.m. when he began walking home up Columbus Avenue. His wife and two daughters were there; one of them attended the same school as Lennon's son Sean. Many nights, the Lynns and the Lennons sat in the same restaurant eating sushi. Often, the famous family strolled down 72nd Street.

That world was gone along with Lennon.

"I never again saw Yoko and Sean walking the streets," the doctor said. "Going out in public? That ceased to take place."

---

Yoko Ono never remarried, and still lives in the Dakota. She tends to the Lennon legacy, which includes convincing the state parole board that C****** should die behind bars. He comes up for parole next year.

The cops from the 20th Precinct hold a reunion every two years. Cullen comes up from his home in Naples, Fla., to hang out with the old gang. They don't talk about the Lennon shooting.

Weiss, after getting the scoop of his career, wound up leaving the ultra-competitive news business. "The major events of my professional career all had to do with other people's tragedy," he said. He now produces a syndicated show with teens reporting the news for teens.

Lynn is still working at Roosevelt Hospital, still the director of the department. As Dec. 8 approaches each year, he gets phone calls from reporters, from fans, from kids born years after Lennon's murder.

"It's hard to imagine it's 25 years," he said.

Imagine.

2005 The Associated Press.
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 02:26 PM   #2
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I was thinking about this today after reading this article, particularly the bit about the emergency room doctor...and I figured that if I shared it here no one would think it was strange.

My son was born at Roosevelt Hospital. Our doctors are affiliated with the same hospital. I have actually been in the emergency room at Roosevelt two or three times times over the last seven years. The last time was just a couple of weeks ago -- I twisted my ankle and it swelled up and I had to go there to be sure that I hadn't broken anything. And while I was waiting to have my x-rays taken, I was sitting in a waiting area that overlooked the whole emergency room, just as an ambulance arrived with a patient and the place started to bustle with activity.

I could not help feeling very weirded out, sitting there watching all the people rushing around. It's hard to explain, but even though I've been in that emergency room two or three times, every time I've been in there, no matter what was wrong with me at the time, I cannot ever shake the feeling of knowing that John died in that room.

I know I shouldn't dwell on that...but reading the article above brought it home to me yet again. I'm just glad I don't have to go there very often...because that is certainly not the way I want to remember John.

I hope no one minds my posting this...I just felt the need to talk about it and figured that if anyone would understand, Beatlelinkers would.
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"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Dec 06, 2005, 05:26 PM   #3
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Wow, I find it very chilling that All my loving played on the muzzak before he died. "Tomorrow I'll miss you" thats just very freaky. But, my thoughts are a little on the morbid side right now as of all the sad articles that have been posted on this board reccently, and the approaching saddening date.

Also, I can understand that it would feel freaky HMV to be in the same hospital/emergency room where John died, it would make me extremely sad.

Also is your ankle better? I hope so.... broken bones/limbs are never fun.
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Old Dec 07, 2005, 08:08 AM   #4
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I'm glad you shared that, Susan. I had a relative who had extensive illnesses and spent the better parts of the early 1980s at St. Luke's-Roosevelt and every time I went there, it was a rather unsettling feeling.
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Old Dec 07, 2005, 11:27 AM   #5
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My ankle's fine, btw...had to wear an ace bandage for a few days, but it was only a bad sprain.

Yes, it is quite unsettling to go to that emergency room at all, for any reason. I remember having to go there for a severe infection after my son was born, and I was pretty sick, they thought they were going to have to readmit me to the hospital...and what was really weird was that even though I felt so crappy, all I could think were two things -- (1) that I didn't particularly want to die, and (2) that if I WAS going to die, I didn't particularly want to die THERE. Isn't that strange???

Needless to say, I didn't die...but it's funny how the mind works sometimes...and the things you think about...
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Dec 07, 2005, 11:56 AM   #6
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Nipper, I think your thoughts are only natural for anybody who carries John in their heart they way so many of us do. I went by the hospital when I was there a few years ago. Even though I was on the outside, I still wondered where he'd been inside.
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Old Dec 07, 2005, 04:36 PM   #7
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Thanks for sharing this, Susan. I can't help but be in a bit of a somber mood every year when December 8th comes. I will try to remember John tomorrow for his music, and as sort of a "thank you" for how much happiness he's brought to my life and to untold millions like me. But sometimes I think I just need to read about what happened to John, not because I like thinking about that, but it does make the reality sink in. Ack, this prolly makes no sense. This day always makes me have such weird emotions. I'll shut up now.
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Old Dec 08, 2005, 07:46 AM   #8
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Here is another article about Dr. Lynn from today's NY Times. Be warned, it's kind of graphic...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/08/ny.../08lennon.html

December 8, 2005

Recalling the Night He Held Lennon's Still Heart

By COREY KILGANNON

Even now, 25 years later, many John Lennon fans can vividly recall the helplessness and frustration they felt on Dec. 8, 1980, when the singer was shot outside the Dakota.

So can Dr. Stephan G. Lynn, who was running the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital that night. He felt Lennon's death firsthand: He was the one who grasped Lennon's heart, massaging it to try to force it to pump again. It never did.

"There was just nothing left to pump," Dr. Lynn recalled in an interview. "There was so much damage to the major blood vessels leading from the heart" that his blood just leaked out.

Dr. Lynn, 58, is still an emergency physician at Roosevelt. He stood in the bustling emergency room in his scrubs one recent morning and recalled the night 25 years ago when the police carried in the singer. Lennon's vital signs showed that he was already dead when he arrived at the emergency room, and after a 20-minute battle to resuscitate him, Dr. Lynn and two other doctors officially declared him dead.

"All the nurses broke out in tears, and most of us said, 'What just happened here?' " Dr. Lynn said. "There was a sense we had all just witnessed a major event."

That Dr. Lynn would have a bit part in history was not immediately apparent when he rushed to the emergency room that night. He had been called back to work to treat a man with three gunshot wounds to the chest. The patient had a pierced lung and no pulse. He was not breathing or moving and had lost a lot of blood. He was gaunt, and his hair was a mess. He was not wearing any glasses.

"When someone said it was John Lennon, I thought it was a bad joke," Dr. Lynn said. "But then they found his ID in his pocket, and he had something like $1,000 in cash on him."

Dr. Lynn recalls that he was too busy to let the news sink in. He and two other doctors cut open Lennon's chest to find blood flooding his chest cavity. "The bullets were amazingly well-placed," he said. "All the major blood vessels leaving the heart were a mush, and there was no way to fix it."

Lennon was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m.

Dr. Lynn was faced with the task of delivering the news to Yoko Ono.

"When I told her, she said: 'You're lying; it can't be true. He's not dead. I don't believe you,' " he recalled. "She threw herself down on the floor and began banging her head on the ground. I was afraid we'd have a second patient. But after two minutes, she accepted it and asked me to delay announcing the news to the media for 20 minutes because her son Sean was home watching the news, and she wanted to tell him first."

The commotion surrounding Lennon's treatment at the hospital caught the attention of another patient, Alan J. Weiss, a producer for WABC-TV who was being treated for a head injury from a motorcycle accident. After seeing Ms. Ono and hearing the police talking about Lennon, Mr. Weiss called the station, which relayed the news to Howard Cosell, to announce during "Monday Night Football." A thicket of reporters and fans gathered outside the hospital. Dr. Lynn walked out to them, blood spattered on his white coat, and told them that John Lennon had just been pronounced dead.

Asked how he felt at the time, Dr. Lynn, a longtime Beatles fan, replied stiffly that emergency doctors are taught not to feel but only to react to medical emergencies. He stifled a slight quiver and gave this clinical judgment: "I think the world would have been substantially different if we could have saved him."

Then he excused himself and returned to his bustling emergency room.
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"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Dec 08, 2005, 08:47 AM   #9
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Susan, I agree that your feelings were natural. Each time I set foot in the place, I prayed that there would be no other casualties there. I want to thank you for sharing what you did.

These articles bring back all the memories and feelings of a quarter of a century ago. There are times when I wonder if the Jerk of Jerks has any concept, any clue of just how deeply his actions have hurt the world.

Erin, what you said did make sense. I read about when Robert Kennedy died for the same reason you stated above. The reality DOES sink in and that, I believe is the first step towards acceptance of a very painful fact. That to me sounds healthy and natural.

On the other hand, there is this crackpot I met at a Beatles convention some years back. This fan legally changed her surname to McCartney; chanted the same few rhyming slogans until everybody around her wanted to and allegedly went after Neil of Liverpool. She kept insisting that John was still alive and in general drove people up a collective tree. I had heard through the grapevine during that period that she was a persona non grata at future Beatle conventions. I relate this because it shows someone going to another extreme. What people have shared in this thread is healthy, natural, normal and expected.
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