John Lennon's Assassination Site

The Dakota, 1 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

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Quick Facts

Killer(s): Mark David Chapman,

Victim(s): John Lennon,

Written by: Jewls Krueger

About This Location:

John Lennon (born October 9, 1940) was a musician, singer, political activist, writer, husband, and father. He had started the supergroup The Beatles with Paul McCartney in 1957 and quickly rose to international fame. Lennon was outspoken about his anti-war beliefs and wrote the song “All You Need is Love”, which solidified the group’s peaceful message. In 1966, Lennon met Yoko Ono, who ended up becoming his second wife and father to his second son, Sean Lennon. In 1968, after more than 10 years with the Beatles, Lennon split from the group, and many blame his relationship with Ono as the catalyst for the split. Lennon went on to start a solo career, but would never again reach the levels of success that he saw with the Beatles.

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon and Yoko Ono left their apartment at The Dakota in New York City for a recording session. Before getting in the car, Lennon stopped to sign a copy of Lennon’s album “Double Fantasy'' for a fan named Mark David Chapman who had been waiting outside the building all day for a chance to meet Lennon. When Lennon and Ono returned to The Dakota after their recording session at around 10:50pm, Chapman was still outside the building. Lennon and Ono passed Chapman and when they were under the arched entrance to the building, Chapman fired 5 bullets from his revolver, hitting Lennon in the back 4 times. Responding police officers rushed Lennon to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Mark David Chapman remained on the scene after the shooting, reading from his worn copy of Catcher in the Rye. Chapman claimed that his motivation for killing Lennon was Lennon’s claim that The Beatles were more famous than Jesus, and Lennon’s claim that he didn’t believe in God. Before his trail, 6 clinical psychologists from both the defense and prosecution found that Chapman did have mental health issues that would affect his ability to discern right from wrong. Ultimately, Chapman pled guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Although Chapman has been eligible for parole since 2000, he has been denied each time and remains incarcerated in New York.

Finding the Location

The Dakota is located in Manhattan on the Upper West side, on W. 72nd St. and Central Park West. The famous arched entrance where Lennon was shot is on W. 72nd St. In Central Park across the street from the building is Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon memorial featuring an “Imagine” tile mosaic. The public is not allowed inside the building. When visiting, remember to stay on public property and do not block the flow of foot traffic.