THE SURVIVOR

August 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

Carl Denaro, one of David Berkowitz’s victims, recalls the night he was shot.

Aired on August 11, 2018.

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>>> WE TURN NOW TO THE HARROWING
STORY OF A SURVIVOR, A MAN WHO
AUTHORITIES SAY BACK IN 1976
TOOK A
.44-CALIBER BULLET TO THE
HEAD FROM THE SON OF SAM AND
LIVED TO TELL WHAT HAPPENED.
DOCTORS WERE ABLE TO SAVE CARL
DENARO BY INSULTING A METAL
PLATE IN HIS SKULL.
THE STORY OF SURVIVAL IS PART OF
THE SPECIAL "SON OF SAM: THE
HUNT FOR A KILLER."
HERE'S A LOOK.
>> EVERYTHING CHANGED THAT
NIGHT.
SO MUCH CHANGED THAT I WASN'T
EVEN AWARE OF HALF THE CHANGES.
THERE WERE SO MANY THINGS THAT I
WASN'T ABLE TO DO.
NOT DRIVE A CAR EVER AGAIN.
NOT PLAY SPORTS EVER AGAIN.
I COULD NEVER FORGIVE HIM FOR
WHAT HE'S DONE.
THIS WAS, YOU KNOW, KIND OF A
HORRENDOUS TIME FOR ALL OF US.
AND IT LEAVES AN IMPACT.
SOMETHING YOU DON'T FORGET.
DO I WANT TO FORGET IT?
I'M NOT SURE.
DO I WANT TO PUT IT BEHIND ME?
I'M NOT SURE.
BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS.
>> FOR MORE ON HIS STORY, MY
CO-HOST, RAFAEL PI ROMAN,
RECENTLY SPOKE WITH CARL DENARO
AND STARTED OFF THE CONVERSATION
BY ASKING WHAT HE REMEMBERS FROM
THE NIGHT HE WAS SHOT.
>> THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, IT
SEEMED LIKE THE CAR EXPLODED.
GLASS SHARDS WERE ALL ON MY
ARMS, MY HANDS.
YOU KNOW, BLOOD.
AT THE TIME, I DIDN'T KNEW I HAD
A HEAD WOUND, BUT I KNEW WE WERE
IN TROUBLE.
>> SO THE ATTACK ON YOU WAS THE
SECOND ATTACK --
>> THE SECOND ATTACK --
>> -- BY THE SON OF SAM.
CLEARLY THE POLICE HAD NOT
CONNECTED THE DOTS.
THERE WAS NO HINT THAT THERE WAS
A SERIAL KILLER.
WHAT DID YOU THINK HAPPENED TO
YOU, AND WHAT DID THE COPS THINK
HAPPENED TO YOU?
>> I HAD NO IDEA.
I HAD NO ENEMIES, CERTAINLY NOT
ENEMIES THAT WOULD SHOOT ME.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS UPPER
MIDDLE CLASS.
WE DIDN'T HAVE SHOOTINGS EVEN
THOUGH NEW YORK AT THE TIME WAS
A SCARY PLACE.
THAT WASN'T TRUE OF MY
NEIGHBORHOOD.
THE FACT THAT I HAD LONG HAIR
AND I SMOKED POT, HUNG OUT IN A
B
BAR, THE DETECTIVES ASSIGNED TO
MY CASE THOUGHT IT WAS A DRUG
DEAL GONE WRONG.
>> WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT THAT
YOUR SHOOTING WAS PART OF THE
SON OF SAM --
>> IT TOOK SIX MONTHS.
I LIVED FOR SIX MONTH OF
BASICALLY DEFENDING MYSELF
AGAINST MY FAMILY AND THE COPS
THAT IT WASN'T A DRUG DEAL.
I BELIEVE IT WAS MARCH 10th --
THEI
THERE WERE ARTICLES IN THE PAPER
PRIOR TO MARCH 1 0th OF THERE
MIGHT BE CONNECTION TO SOME
SHOOTINGS.
FINALLY ON MARCH 10th, THEY HAD
A PRESS CONFERENCE, MAYOR'S
OFFICE AND NYPD, HAD A PRESS
CONFERENCE SAYING --
>> THAT'S WHEN YOU KNEW?
>> YEAH.
THANKED ALL THE SUPPOSEDLY RAP
DOMESTIC SHOOTINGS.
>> -- RANDOM SHOOTINGS.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WERE
DEAD INSTEAD OF ROSEMARY?
>> THE BEST THEY'RE WE HAVE
RIGHT NOW 40 YEARS LATER IS I
WAS MISTAKEN FOR A WOMAN.
I MEAN, I HAD LONG HAIR.
ROSEMARY HAD RELATIVELY SHORT
HAIR FOR A WOMAN.
>> DRIVING --
>> SHE WAS DRIVING THE CAR.
YOU KNOW, THAT KIND OF MAKES IT
SENSE.
>> ON AUGUST 10th, 1977, DAVID
BERKOWITZ IS ARRESTED.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU KNEW
THAT HE WAS --
>> MY SISTER CALLED ME.
IT WAS PROBABLY ABOUT 2:00 IN
THE MORNING WHEN I FOUND OUT.
IT WAS, YOU KNOW -- EVERY
EMOTION YOU COULD THINK OF.
RELIEF, ELATION, KIND OF LIKE
THE PREVIOUS 13 MONTHS, KIND OF
LIKE, YOU KNOW, PLAYED IN MY
HEAD REAL QUICK, YOU KNOW.
AND I KNOW, I BASICALLY SAT ON
MY BED FOR TWO HOURS KIND OF
LIKE COLLECTING MY THOUGHTS.
>> ALL RIGHT.
CARL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
COMING HERE AND SHARING YOUR
STORY.
>> YOU'RE WELCOME.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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